Orangutan and Baby, By Jami Tarris, Huntington Beach, California, USA

Orangutan and Baby

Pongo pygmaeus

Learn more about Pongo pygmaeus from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Tanjung Puting National Park,
Borneo, Indonesia
By Jami Tarris
Huntington Beach,
California, USA

Jami Tarris

The only surviving species of great ape native to Asia, orangutans are highly endangered and only found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They teach their young at an early age to forage through the dense forest for food. While more than 60 percent of their diet is composed of fruits, they consume a variety of leaves, bark, sap, roots, flowers, bird eggs, and insects. With more of their tropical habitat being destroyed every day, the species is being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas of their remaining natural rain forest. At the current rate of deforestation, orangutans in the wild are predicted to be extinct in less than 20 years.

“After spending many days in the heat and humidity of the rain forest, I was finally rewarded with the images of orangutans I had hoped for. This mother and her young sat quietly for many minutes before this photo was made. The juvenile placed his finger on his mother’s lower lip in a very gentle way. After a few seconds, the mother wrapped her hand around her son’s hand and I caught this tender, intimate moment between parent and young.” —JT

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III; EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS lens at 105mm; 1/250 sec at ƒ/4; ISO 400; hand-held.