The Whisker Chronicles

Whiskers are also known as vibrissa, from the latin vibrare "to vibrate". Vibrissa are the specialized hairs on mammals and the bristlelike feathers near the mouths of many birds. Their resonant design is symbolic of the energies, good and bad, that are reverberating throughout the natural world. Every living thing is connected and, by birthright, deserves to exist.

Celebrating Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Bornean and Sumatran Orangutan

Photo courtesy of Center of Orangutan Protection.

Photo courtesy of Center of Orangutan Protection.

Scientific Name:   (Pongo pygmaeus) and (Pongo abelii)

While all orangutans were previously believed to be subspecies of the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), recent research supports the taxonomic classification of the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) as distinct from the Bornean orangutan.

Year Listed on the Endangered Species List:  1970

Endangered Species Listing Status:  Endangered

Conservation Efforts and Partners:

In 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Great Ape Conservation Act and since then Wildlife Without Borders, through the Great Ape Conservation Fund has helped in protecting the orangutan population on the island of Sumatra.  This is done by increasing law enforcement to combat poaching and mitigating human-orangutan conflict.

In 2011, with a Congressional appropriation of $2.2 million and additional funding through the USAID/CARPE program, the Great Ape Conservation Fund awarded 51 grants totaling $3,869,265, which was matched by an additional $4,538,640 from partner organizations. The funds are used to support conservation efforts for several ape species throughout Africa and Asia and also to provide support to families of park rangers who gave their lives protecting apes. Funding also supports prevention and prosecution of poaching and other wildlife crimes.

Many other organizations are helping to protect habitat, which is the single most effective way to prevent extinction of orangutans, as this brief National Geographic video, Kalimantan’s Orangutans explains.

Where Orangutans Live:   

All orangutans live in tropical rainforests, spending almost all of their time in the trees, where they build nests in which to sleep.  Bornean orangutans live on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo. Sumatran orangutans live on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, restricted entirely to its northern tip due to deforestation.

What Orangutans Eat: 

Eggs, insects, leaves, wood, bark, stems, seeds, grains, nuts, fruit and flowers.

How Long Orangutans Live:  44-58 years

How We Can All Help Orangutans: 

Avoid use of products with palm oil or use only products with palm oil that was obtained from RSPO certified sustainable sources.  You can find out how simple it is to do this by reading my recent blog for The Ecotone Exchange, How Saving Orangutans Can Lower Your Cholesterol.

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This entry was posted on February 5, 2014 by in Endangered Species, Mammals, Wildlife.
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