Unseen Passage: Orangutans

Orangutans require less food than humans. When Orangutans eat, they nibble mostly on ripe fruits, along with smaller portions of leaves and seeds. Even in captivity, this diet doesn’t diminish an orangutan’s get up and go attitude. They wake up early, after a long night’s sleep. Then they spend the day socializing, exploring their indoor and outdoor enclosures. They also regularly engage in games with researchers. These activities of the orangutans taken together add up to the same level of exercise performed by humans in physically demanding agricultural lifestyles.

In the wild, orangutans live in the rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra where food availability is highly variable and unpredictable. Like fresh fruits from the garden, the pickings are often feast or famine. But the trade-off is, that low energy means, less energy is available to do things like grow and reproduce. So orangutans grow slowly and reproduce slowly, which is evolutionarily risky because an orangutan might die before it passes on its genes. Human mothers can have a child every two to four years, but orangutans in the wild only reproduce every seven to eight years.

Orangutans are among the most intelligent primates; they use a variety of sophisticated tools and construct elaborate sleeping nests each night from branches and foliage. These apes have been extensively studied for their learning abilities. There may even be distinctive cultures within populations. Both orangutan species are considered to be endangered, with the Sumatran orangutans being critically endangered. Human activities have caused severe decline in the populations and ranges of both species. Threats to wild orangutan populations include poaching, habitat destruction, and the illegal pet trade. Several conservation and rehabilitation organisations are dedicated to the survival of orangutans in the wild.

We will lose much information about our closest relatives and our own evolutionary history if we let them get extinct.


  1. According to Pontzer, orangutans mostly eat ______________
  2. It is seen that orangutans and humans do almost the same ______________
  3. Orangutans grow and reproduce slowly as they ______________
  4. We do not want the orangutans to become extinct as ______________
  5. The word ‘unpredictable’ means to be ______________
  6. Orangutans are among ______________ primates.
  7. ______________ are the critically endangered species.
  8. There is a severe decline in the population of orangutans because of ______________


  1. Ripe fruits along with smaller portions of leaves and seeds.
  2. Level of exercise and activities.
  3. Have low levels of energy due to highly variable and unpredictable food availability in the rain forests where they live.
  4. We humans will lose much information about our closest relatives and our own evolutionary history.
  5. ‘difficult to foresee or foretell
  6. The most intelligent.
  7. The Sumatran orangutans.
  8. Human activities such as poaching, habitat destruction and illegal pet trade

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