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Palm Oil Action Australia | March 4, 2021

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February News Updates 2016

Baby orang utan
  • On March 9, 2016

Baby orang utans are one of the most dependent of primates, with one of the slowest life histories of any mammal. Females don’t give birth until around age 15, and the time between births is long, even longer than most humans. For Bornean orangutans this is estimated to be one or two babies every  6-7 years and for Sumatran orangutans, 8-9 years, and no more than 4 in their lifetime.  Even after weaning (around 2 years), it takes several more years before a youngster is independent of its mother, around 8 for males, longer for females.  Females stay with their mums until around age 13; learning nursing skills, and giving birth to their own first baby at around age13- 15. Their utter dependency on their mother for survival skills and their long lead time between ‘children’ is one of the reasons these – the most intelligent of primates – are in such a precarious situation when their nursery habitat  and the canopys that support them are destroyed for plantations, along with killing the mothers who, ‘get in the way’. Offspring often die from the trauma, if they don’t get caught for the pet trade.  Their slow breeding is one reason they are in danger of extinction.

Photo By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Baby Orangutan 2  Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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