What species are they?The orangutan is one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, sharing 96.4% of our DNA. Indigenous people of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape "Orang Hutan" which literally translates as "Person of the Forest".
Once widespread throughout the forests of Asia, orangutans are now found on just two islands, Sumatra and Borneo.
There are two genetically distinct species: the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). The two species look slightly different: Sumatran orangutans have lighter hair and a longer beard than their Bornean relatives, and Sumatran males have narrower cheekpads. Both species are highly endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. 100 years ago there were thought to be 315,000 orangutans in the wild. There are now less than 14,600 left in Sumatra, and less than 54,000 in Borneo. It is thought that Sumatran orangutans may be the first Great Apes to become extinct unless we help to protect them.