Malaysia is a federal country that includes much of the Peninsula of Malaysia (where the capital Kuala Lumpur is located), and the northern part of the island of Borneo. Malaysia is known as one of the 17 megadiverse countries and is home to a dizzying array of endemic species and some of the island of Borneo's rich tropical rainforests.

Malaysia is also home to the great ape - the orangutan. Orangutans are native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia but are today only found on parts of the (massive) islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Most of the tours for seeing orangutans are in Indonesia, but one can also see them in Sarawak in Malaysia on the island of Borneo.

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About Our Arboreal Ginger Cousins

Orangutans are one of the great apes that make up the family tree that humans are part of. They were one of the first to branch out from the Great Apes, diverging from the ancestors of gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans between 19.3 and 15.7 million years ago.

  • Last Common Ancestor: 19.3-15.7 Million Years Ago

That means human's last common ancestor with orangutans lived around 16 million years ago while our last one with chimpanzees lived around 5 million years ago.

Of the great apes, orangutans are the most arboreal and spend most of their time in trees. Adapting them to this lifestyle they have proportionally long arms and short legs.

Weight:

  • Adult Males: About 75 Kg or 165 lb
  • Adult Females: 37 Kg or 82 lb

Dominant adult males are distinctive and develop distinctive cheep pads and make long calls to attract the females. Younger subordinate males resemble adult females.

  • Life Expectancy: Over 30 Years (Both in Captivity and In The Wild)

Unlike other great apes like humans, chimps, and gorillas, orangutans are mostly solitary - the most solitary of the great apes.

They are also considered one of the most intelligent primates and can use a number of sophisticated tools as well as construct elaborate sleeping nests in the branches. Like humans, there may even be distinctive cultures within populations.

They eat mostly fruit as well as other vegetation, bark, honey, insects, and even bird eggs.

There are three species of orangutans:

  • Bornean Orangutan: Pongo Pygmaeus - with three Subspecies
  • Sumatran Orangutan: Pongo Abelii
  • Tapanuli Orangutan: Pongo Tapanuliensis - Only Idenified in 2017 And Lives In Sumatra

Unfortunately, all three species of orangutans are considered critically endangered and have suffered severe declines in their population and habitats. They are facing many threats today, including poaching, deforestation (driven by palm oil cultivation and logging), as well as illegal pet trade.

  • 800: Only 800 Individuals of The Tapanuli Orangutan Today, They Are The Rarest Great Ape

Related: Monkeys In Thailand Are Revolting Because Of COVID-19: 10 Things To Know

Semenggoh Orangutan Tours

This orangutan tour enables tourists to get up close to the orangutans in the Semeggoh Wildlife Centre. This is Sarawak's main orangutan rehabilitation center.

This tour includes pick up from one's hotel and tours the rehabilitation center. One will see how the center receives orphaned or rescued orangutans and trains them so that they can survive in the wild. It is home to over 20 of these endangered arboreal apes.

As one arrives the guide will point out orangutan nests and guides visitors to the feeding platform. Sometimes there are already orangutans there, other days rangers call out the names of the orangutans who then come on over for a treat.

During the fruiting season, they often have enough food and may be absent from the feeding area.

  • Duration: 3 Hours
  • Price: From MYR 95 ($23) Per Person
  • Includes: Transfers, Entrance Fee, English Speaking Guide
  • Fruiting Season: December to January

Note: Private Tours Can Be Arranged On Request By Emailing info@borneoadventure.com

Related: Here's How You Can See The Biggest U.S. Zoo In One Weekend

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Search for Wild OrangUtan – Batang Ai

If one would like to go Orangutan trekking, then one can find a tour from the Sarabak city of Kuching with Borneo Adventure. The road trip to Batang Ai lake takes around 6 years. From the shores of the lake, one will travel upriver to Nanga Sumpa longhouse - this longboat journey takes around another 1.5 hours (depending on the river conditions).

Once their one will interact with the Iban community of Nanga Sumpa and then explore the Batang Ai area. Batang Ai is home to the most significant population of wild orangutans in Sarawak. One may also be able to see pig-trail macaques, hornbills, and many exotic birds.

Unlike the elusive Yeti in the Himalayas (that according to the Indian Army is real), the Orangutan is an ape that one can actually spot and take pictures of.

  • Duration: 6 Days, 5 Nights
  • Type: Daily Trekking In The Tropical Rainforest
  • Price: From MYR2170 ($520) per person
  • Accommodation: Nanga Sumpa lodge and A Jungle Camp

The Orangutan is not the only mind-bending primate worth seeing. When things improve in Ethiopia, consider trekking the incredible Gelada Monkeys in Ethiopia.

Next: Philippines Vs. Indonesia: Where You Should Go, And Why