Asked in Orangutans Fruit is the most important component of an orangutan's diet; however, the apes will also eat vegetation, bark, honey, insects and even bird eggs. Food is often scarce in the rain forest and that is why the orangutan is very independent unlike most primates. 10) Sadly, orangutans are today on the endangered species list. A better question would actually be: why are orangutans more solitary than other great apes? Though they live semi-solitary lives in the wild, orangutans are highly social tolerant. Orang-utans are known as gardeners of the forest. Why orangutans are so important. Deforestation in the forests where they live has reduced their habitat, and illegal hunting has put populations at serious risk. Palm Oil Is More Important Than Orangutans On Thursday October 18, 2012 NBC will air a progam about critically endangered orangutans on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Even light logging can remove important species that the Bornean orangutan depends on for food and shelter. Question: Why are orangutans important to the ecosystem? Orangutan means ‘person of the forest’ in the Malay language. Wiki User June 15, 2008 8:06AM. Wiki User March 25, 2012 8:06AM. Swing by wwf.org.uk/adoption to find out how you can adopt an orangutan and help to protect their future! Why are the orangutans so important? An Endangered Species: Orangutans are a highly endangered primate species living in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. They play a vital role in seed dispersal and in maintaining the health of the forest ecosystem, which is important for people and a host of other animals, including tigers, Asian elephants and Sumatran rhinos. Their powerful arms … Amid the lush rainforests of Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo islands, orangutans coexist with elephants, rhinoceros, and tigers – the last place on Earth where these animals roam together. ... What Are Bornean Orangutans? Their ability to make and use tools and pass on these skills to other individuals has become a fascinating area of research, within both captive and wild populations. Poaching orangutan infants and hunting for meat also threatens the species. Great apes, including orangutans, are of great scientific interest due to their high cognitive abilities and the many similarities they share behaviorally and physically with humans. They take the longest time to grow up and they are the slowest to reproduce Wild female orangutans usually become sexually active at approximately 12 years, but they will often have their first offspring only at 15-16 years of age. Why is the Bornean Orangutan Endangered? Orangutans help spread many different tree seeds, many of which can only germinate once … The Sumatran orangutan, Pongo albelli , used to be considered a subspecies of the related apes ( Pongo pygmaeus ) which live on Borneo, but is now accorded full species status. Sexual Development & Behaviour Orangutans have the slowest known life histories of any mammal. They have a characteristic of ape-like shape, shaggy reddish fur and grasping hands and feet. Orangutans spend their lives in the trees, even building a nest to sleep in each night, high in the forest canopy. Most of them are found in lowland areas and prefer forests in river valleys or floodplains. You know how it works – they eat fruit from the trees, the seeds come out the other end, the forest spreads. Deforestation is the greatest threat to their survival because it destroys their home.