Zoology & Botany


Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy orangutan in advance, as well as a sample of wool

Say: Look at this animal. (Show a picture of a orangutan .) This is a mammal.

Remember, to be classified as a mammal, an animal should have hair or fur, mammary glands (mammal mothers nurse their young with milk), lungs and need air to breathe. Mammals that live on land are warm blooded, have 4 legs and ears that stick out.

Orangutans are born with ability to reason and think. This large, gentle red ape is one of humankind’s closest relatives, sharing nearly 97% of the same DNA. Peoples of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape “orang hutan” literally translating into English as “person of the forest.” Orangutans have a characteristic ape-like shape, shaggy reddish fur and grasping hands and feet. Their powerful arms are stronger and longer than their legs, long enough to touch their ankles when they stand. Orangutans have bare face, with round eyes and small ears. Short, weak legs and long, powerful arms, curled fingers and feet, flexible shoulder and hip joint. In addition, males develop large fleshy flaps (cheek pads) on faces, and large throat pouches. Males also possess pouches of pebbly skin on chest. Like humans, orangutans have opposable thumbs. These Orangutans are extremely patient and intelligent mammals. They are very observant and inquisitive. Orangutans have tremendous strength, which enables them to swing from branch to branch and hang upside-down from branches for long periods of time to retrieve fruit and eat young leave.

Go back to the picture of the orangutan. Say: let’s find orangutan’s body parts. This is its head, eyes, nose, mouth, body, legs: 1,2,3,4; this is its...Oops!!! Orangutans don´t have tails! Orangutans are more solitary than other apes. Males are loners. As they move through the forest they make plenty of rumbling, howling calls to ensure that they stay out of each other's way. (Would you like to imitate these orangutans rumbling and howling?)

Orangutans are living things and need energy to survive. Orangutans are omnivores (they eat both plants and animals). They eat fruit (their favorite food), leaves, seeds, tree bark, plant bulbs, tender plant shoots, and flowers. They also eat insects and small animals (like birds and small mammals). Females reproduce between 10-15 years of age. Orangutan females only give birth about once every 8 years – the longest time between births of any mammal on earth. (This results in only 4 to 5 babies in her lifetime.) The orangutan has the longest childhood dependence on the mother of any animal in the world, because there is so much for a young orangutan to learn in order to survive. The babies nurse until they are about six years of age. The young males may stay close by their mothers for a few more years but the females stay until they are into their teens. This is why orangutan populations are very slow to recover from disturbance.

Orangutans are arboreal creatures, which means they spend most of their lives slowly walking, swinging and climbing through dense rain forests. Orangutans are only found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia. Orangutans forest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia is rapidly disappearing, putting the future of Asia's only great ape in peril. That´s why we need to take care of Orangutans and treat them with respect because they are living things just like us, people.

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