Longevity & Causes of Death


Orangutans may live more than 40 years.


Aside from human activity, young orangutans are preyed on by clouded leopards, bearded pigs, crocodiles, pythons, and black eagles.


Like most great apes, orangutans are susceptible to many human diseases and ailments.

Human Impact

Habitat Loss & Fragmentation

The greatest threat facing orangutans today is habitat loss/fragmentation and the international trade in products containing orangutan parts. Habitat loss and fragmentation occurs when land is cleared for a variety of purposes including agricultural, urbanization, and land conversion to domestic grazing. Fragmentation occurs when a once-continuous habitat becomes divided into separate fragments, resulting in limited breeding opportunities, reduced food resources, and increased human conflicts for wildlife.

One of the main causes of habitat loss and fragmentation in orangutans' native ranges is the conversion of rainforest habitats to palm oil plantations. Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that is commonly found in breads, crackers, chips, margarine, cereals, cosmetics, and soaps.

Due to its cost-effectiveness (does not have to go through the hydrogenation process) and lack of trans-fats, palm oil has become an industry standard. Additionally, palm oil is high in natural antioxidants and stable at high temperatures, making it a preferred medium for deep frying. The bland taste of palm oil also brings out natural flavors in foods. Palm oil has in fact become so popular it is estimated to currently be found in one in ten products available in supermarkets today.

Nearly ninety percent of the world's palm oil exports are derived from Malaysian and Indonesian plantations. The same lowland rainforests the palm oil industry favors is the only remaining habitat for orangutans. Some reports indicate that without urgent intervention, the palm oil trade could cause the extinction of Asia's only great ape, the orangutan, within 12 years.

Pet Trade

Orangutan infants have been collected for the pet trade for decades. Due to tight maternal bond between mother and infant, mothers will aggressively protect their young. Often times the mother is killed to collect the infant.