Endangered Species: Orangutans

A Orleans Wood Elementary School
Submitted by: Kelsey, Grade 4
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Photo Courtesy of the Racine Zoologicial Society

Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

    I wanted to study this topic because I like learning about mammals. I wanted to know about interesting habits that they might have. I also wanted to know what orangutans eat, and where they live.

What Was Already Known

    I knew that orangutans are part of the same family as humans. They are primates, and that they have reddish-brown fur.

Search for Information

    I searched for information in the Owl , Ranger Rick, and National Geographic World magazines. I also used Birute Galdikas's Among the Orangutans book, which gave me information on her work with orangutans.

Description of Plant or Animal

    Orangutans have shiny, red hair. They have powerful arms, which are eight feet long. Orangutans have strong teeth and jaws. Their legs are smaller and weaker than their arms.The orangutan's legs are five feet long. Orangutans are 200 pounds, and have very heavy bodies. Orangutans are the largest arboreal mammal. Arboreal means living in trees.

Habitat Requirements

    Orangutans live in the tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. Orangutans build crude nests, and they are the only animals who build a roof when it rains. Orangutans live in the canopy of the rain forest.


    Orangutans are much like humans, and they are very intelligent. They are tree dwelling animals. When they travel through trees, they don't move to the next branch until they have a firm grip on it. Orangutans often drop seeds while they are traveling though trees. That makes more food for them. Older orangutans usually go off by themselves; younger orangutans play and stay together. There are a little more than five thousand orangutans left in the world. Orangutans have well-developed brains just like humans, and believe it or not, orangutans are part of the same family as humans!

Reasons for Endangerment

    Orangutans are endangered because people are shooting them, and wrecking their habitat by cutting down trees. When people cut down the trees, orangutans can not find food. Because people have been shooting the animals and cutting down trees, orangutans may disappear forever. Orangutans are often used as pets.

Restoration Actions

    People can save orangutans by not cutting down the trees, and not shooting them. Orangutans are already protected by law, but is the law enough to stop some people?

What Was Learned

    I learned that orangutans are the only primates that live in the trees and that orangutans build nests. I also learned that orangutans are mammals.

Conclusions From Research

  I learned that I had to keep working even if things did not work out, and that if I wanted to get this project done, I had to keep working. I learned people can save orangutans by not shooting them, and not destroying their habitat.

Click here for more information on Orangutans from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association!

left arrow Return to Mammal page.

If you would like to add to these Endangered Species
pages then email your contributions to Christiansburg Elementary

© copyright 1997 

Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on May 3, 1998