Common names are not officially defined. They are based on everyday conversational language and may differ by country, region, profession, community, or other factors. As a result, it is not unusual for a species to have more than one common name.

Scientific names are in Latin and they are written in italics. They are standardized and for everyone, no matter what language you may speak. They are bound by a formal naming system, called binominal nomenclature, that has strict rules. Scientific names prevent misidentification. Those names only change if a species, or its genus, is officially redesignated by experts.

Bornean orangutans inhabit the Southeast Asian equatorial island of Borneo, which encompasses the countries of Indonesia (home to the greatest population of Bornean orangutans), Malaysia, and Brunei. They live in lowland and hilly tropical and subtropical rainforests.

  • Bornean orangutans are the third heaviest primates and the largest tree-dwelling primate
  • Their diet includes 400-500 different food types. Fruits are their favorites
  • They are the slowest of all mammals to breed, with 8 years between births
This means that there is an extremely high risk that they could become extinct in the wild

Habitat loss as a result of their forests being burned down, legally or illegally, to cultivate oil palm plantations has Bornean orangutans teetering on the brink of extinction.


  1. Adult orangutans are large! They cannot live safely in human homes.
  2. Orangutans live high in trees, not on the ground.
  3. Although baby orangutans are cute, they are hyperactive and need a great deal of vertical space. Most importantly, they should be with their mothers.
  4. For an orangutan to become a pet, the mother is usually killed, resulting in trauma and often injury to the baby.
  5. In most places, it is illegal to have an orangutan as a pet, and it is illegal to purchase orangutans.
  6. Orangutans are an endangered species. There are strict regulations against trading in and keeping Endangered species.
  7. Orangutans belong in the forests of Indonesia. We need to protect them and their habitats. 


Visit the BORNEAN ORANGUTAN Primate Species Profile

 Copyright © New England Primate Conservancy 2019. You may freely use and share these learning activities for educational purposes. 
For questions or comments, e-mail us at [email protected].