As you would probably have guessed from the name of the project, Orangutans are the main focus at The Great Orangutan Project in Borneo, but you may not have known that the sanctuary is home to many more animals! The aim of this blog is to tell you a little more about not only the Orangutans but also two of the lesser known creatures who reside at Matang and why they need your help!
These Great Apes were once found throughout much of Southeast Asia but they now only survive in small, very fragmented patches on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Orangutans live in the rainforest, more often than not high up in the tree canopies and they will rebuild their nests every night from scratch. This involves collecting an awful lot of branches every day, but to make their nests more comfortable Orangutans will fill them with leaves to act as a pillow and a blanket!
What you may not know is that these magnificent animals are omnivores. They prefer to eat forest fruits whenever it is available, but in the months when fruit is scarce, they will start to include more insects, barks and leaves into their diets.
You would not want to start an argument with an Orangutan as the males are seven times stronger than the average human! Females are normally around 40kg, but male Orangutans can be up to double that, and standing at up to 1.5 metres tall they are an imposing beast.
Why are they endangered?
The main reason Orangutans need our help is because of habitat loss. Thousands of acres of forest are lost regularly for timber supplies and they then make way for palm oil plantations meaning the Orangutans are homeless. Indonesia and Malaysia (where the Island of Borneo is located,) are home to 90% of the worlds palm oil plantations, so you can imagine what a drastic effect this has on the Orangutans home. It is estimated that there are only around 60,000 Orangutans left in the world so something needs to change.
The reclusive Sun Bear is found across Southeast Asia, from Southern China down as far as Indonesia. They are forest dwelling animals and are found lumbering through the lowlands in search of their next meal.
Sun Bears have an excellent sense of smell and they use this to seek out the wide variety of food they enjoy. The will eat almost anything they find including: fruits, berries, roots, insects, small birds, lizards and even rodents so they do really make the most of their surroundings when it comes to finding food!
The appearance of these bears in photos is deceptive as they are larger than you would probably imagine them to be. They can reach a size of 4-5 feet in length and weigh anything up to 70kg.
Why are they endangered?
Due to their remote habitat and incredibly shy nature, there isn’t currently enough data to accurately know whether or not Sun Bears are in danger of extinction but the worst is feared. Their forest habitats are suffering the same fate as those of the Orangutans and when this is taken into consideration alongside poaching, the Sun Bears are in real danger.
Chances are you have never heard of the Binturong but this member of the Viverridae family lives in Southeast Asia and can be found in the dense tropical rainforests of the area. They prefer to have tall and thick tree cover to protect them from any predators.
Binturongs are omnivorous and will eat almost anything they can get their paws on, from small mammals, birds, and fish to fruit and vegetables. Figs are a major component in their diet, and they have one favourite named the Strangler!
Also known as bearcats, the Binturong are unique looking animals. They can be measure from around 71cm up to 84cm, and their huge tails normally double their length! Weighing between 11 and 32 kilograms means that they are not the biggest mammals in the forest either, so they do have to watch out for predators.
Why are they endangered?
You will probably not be shocked to hear that the biggest threat to the Binturong is humans. Sighting in the wild are rare and only a handful have been reported in the last decade. The animal is listed on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable to extinction and if human encroachment onto its land continues then this could be a reality sooner rather than later.
This is only a small taster of the animals which call the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary in Borneo home, so if you want to find out more about the project and the animals you will be helping then look no further and click here!
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