Zoos Victoria

About Orang-utans

Orang-utans are the largest tree-living mammals in the world. Orang-utans were once widespread throughout Asia, but now inhabit only the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Sumatran Orang-utans are about 1.25-1.5 metres tall. Adult males weigh up to 90kg, and females up to 50kg. Orang-utans are largely solitary, unlike the other great apes, and spend much of their time foraging for fruit high up in the canopy of the rainforest. They rarely come to the ground and will build nests out of leaves and branches each night in the treetops.

Loss of their rainforest habitat due to logging and palm oil plantations, as well as hunting for the pet trade, has these amazing ‘people of the forest’ on the brink of extinction.


Bornean & Sumatran Orang-utans

There are two species: the Bornean Orang-utan, Pongo pygmaeus, and the Sumatran Orang-utan, Pongo abelii. The Sumatran Orang-utan has a narrower face and longer beard than the Bornean, which is darker in colour.

Classification of Sumatran Orang-utan

  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Primates
  • Family: Hominidae.
  • Species Name: Pongo abelii
  • Status: Critically Endangered