Orangutans: Just Hangin' On
Introduction

Orangutans are our close relatives. It’s easy to fall under the charming spell cast by the auburn hair and quizzical expression of a playful youngster — especially when the child in question is a baby orangutan. These apes, featured in the NATURE program Orangutans: Just Hangin’ On, stir our emotions easily. Whether it’s their alert eyes, grasping hands, or desire to be hugged, many things about them seem humanlike.

That’s not surprising when you think about how closely related we really are. The only primate closer to us is the African ape. But as human as they seem, orangutans are actually wild animals perfectly suited to their forest environment. Weighing in at a hefty 200 pounds, an adult male orangutan is four times as strong as an adult male human and the largest animal to dwell in trees. When climbing on vines, orangutans’ flexible hip joints and hand-like feet make them seem to have four arms rather than two arms and two legs.

The natural home of the orangutan is the leafy canopy of the Southeast Asian rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo, which are abundant with the fruit that these apes eat. The growth of the logging industry in these areas has placed this habitat in grave danger, so many zoos have begun programs to increase the worldwide orangutan population.

Whether they live in treetops or zoos, orangutans exhibit a high level of intelligence. Orangutans in the wild are capable of creating and using tools; those in captivity demonstrate their ability to think and solve problems, like the puzzles at Washington DC’s National Zoo, featured in rangutans: Just Hangin’ On. It is no accident that the Malay name for this animal, “orang utan,” translates as “man of the forest.”

Online content for Orangutans: Just Hangin’ On was originally posted December 1997.

  • alexis

    why are orangutans so fat and cuddly ? how long do there hair ? please dont say with anger

  • chouaib

    they eat alot of sweet bannanas and termites plus ants.89 in.

  • JOHN

    also they eat apple, vegetables like carrots, yam and romaine lettuce.

  • Tommi

    what are there defenses

  • caleb

    why do they have long arms

  • bob

    to answer calebs question, they are just made that way!

  • namita

    why are they so huggable?

  • Nouchted

    Thier environment is being completely destroyed by palm sugar plantations.

  • booya

    do they make weird noises?

  • but hole

    wat up you noo noos

  • Danielle Mason

    Orangutans are so cuite and cuddly!!!

  • teaghen bentford

    ornang utans r sooooooooooooooo lovely and so cute!!!

  • cHRIS

    SO CUTE ORANGUTANS ARE MY PROJECT!

  • Lightsaber

    Orangutans r so like the best monkeys in the world!

  • alex

    orangutans actually aren’t monkeys; they are apes. And to answer caleb’s question, orangutans have long arms basically so that they can swing in trees efficiently.

  • sewe

    oranutans are the coolest apes in the world and its a pity that they are on the verge of extinction

  • syed

    what important is orang utan from malaysia & i’m from malaysia…i work 4 johor national park that take care of malaysia forest if u need anything u can e-mail me

  • Bailey

    I love orangutans, and they have been here for a very long time. did you know that the name ” Orangutan” means man of the forest.

  • tvohchardz

    i thnk ths website is interesing. they do not have orangutans were i liv. & it is to cold in Russia where i have house. no jungles here. but i thot it cool because you hav warm ape south. We do hav cute, lovable white bear on ice though!

  • genesis

    hey….did you know that orangutans means “man of the fores”?

  • Nellie’s Patch

    We produce handmade soap WITHOUT palm oil, in Shropshire, UK. We try to educate people about the need to protect these wonderful creatures. We hope people will learn to avoid products with palm oil in.

  • aaliyah

    thats a good story about orangutans

  • katrina

    i love orangs’ there so cute and funny.They must have long thick fur so the babys dont hurt them.I wish i had one as a pet

  • Robbie

    A very interesting article

  • lorna robertson

    Orangutans are wonderful to look at we are gutting down there trees which they live in we will have to do something about the way we think about wildlife in the future

  • Parker Road Panthers

    We think that orangutans are cool because they are stronger than a male human and are intelligent. You shouldn’t mess with and orangutan because it is four times stronger than a human. An interesting fact is that, all orangutans are very flexible in their hips and seem to have four arms. We are sad because orangutans are dying because loggers are cutting down their trees and homes. We also know that orangutans are being smuggled to zoos and private circuses.

  • Parker Road

    We think that orangutans are interesting because they are stronger than a male human and are intelligent. You shouldn’t mess with and orangutan because it is four times stronger than a human. We are worried because orangutans are dying because loggers are cutting down their homes.

  • khiah

    how long does an orangatan sleep

  • NICK

    THIS IS A….W….E….S…O….M….E

  • Debi Esquivel

    The show I like about these guys is on during the week,at 6:00 a.m. every morning,on channel 51,Animal Planet.It is called Orangatan Island.

  • eeeeeeeeeeeee

    Orang-utans would be so cool pets! They would cuddle you and scare off any burglars!

  • Shrewsbury Dentists

    We think that orangutans are cool because they are stronger than a male human and are intelligent. You shouldn’t mess with and orangutan because it is four times stronger than a human. An interesting fact is that, all orangutans are very flexible in their hips and seem to have four arms. We are sad because orangutans are dying because loggers are cutting down their trees and homes. We also know that orangutans are being smuggled to zoos and private circuses.

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  • manny fresh

    Orangatan Island is the best. Every morning on animal planet. Very educational. They so much like humans makes me wish ! I could have one as pet. As far as they home being cut down. We humans have destroyed that. Think about it like this. How would u like if someone knocked down ur place of living to build a mall ? Got my point ?

  • cheaser1409

    that is good info

  • duddy

    this will be my report:-)

  • Mike

    to Cabel.
    Orangutans have such long arms because the live in the conopys in forests. The muscles required to swing around and hang onto limbs of trees could not be supported by short, less structured arms. That is why they have long arms. :)

  • Rohn

    Many Thanks for re-airing the Man of the Forest in June 2012. Least wise where I am in the desert of Arizona it was re-aired and what a great film. It is so sad that as the world homogenization continues, we not only have all the same culture we also are cutting all the forest that these great creatures and their cousins the Gorilla use and need.
    I was amazed at how this conservatory has grown(in Pop) with unattended infant Orangutan’s. It is a fine effort and a very good film. Hope you air it again during the summer so more of the 7 billion hairless ones can see it.

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