For the Love of Red Apes

Did you know that orangutans are the only surviving great apes in Asia? And they’re losing their natural habitat to palm oil plantations?

Found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, these playful primates have become endangered due to a loss of their natural habitat, as well as their popularity in the illegal pet trade. Bornean Orangutan populations have declined drastically—more than 50 percent in the last decade—catapulting the species from the vulnerable list in 1996 to endangered in 2000 (according to the IUCN Red List).

Orang Female Rosie PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pham

Female Orangutan Rosie

In our “Zooscape” newsletter (October 2013), Curator of Mammals Jennie Becker wrote about the Zoo’s involvement in the 7th Annual Orangutan SSP Husbandry Workshop and the importance of such workshops toward conservation efforts:

“Orangutans are losing their natural habitat and declining in numbers at an alarming rate due to poaching, illegal logging, forest fires associated with the rapid spread of oil palm plantations, and expansion of human settlements. Experts predict that the Sumatran orangutan may become extinct in the wild in as little as 10 years unless immediate and sustained action is taken.”


Learn more about the L.A. Zoo’s orangutans HERE. For more on the conservation workshops, visit the Orangutan Species Survival Plan.


Male Orangutan Bruno PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pham

Male Orangutan Bruno; PHOTO CREDIT: Jamie Pham