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Swinging through trees in the heart of the Borneo before nestling into its mother's chest; the young orang-utan looks peaceful - unaware of the imposing threat on their family home.

Over the past 20 years, more than 80% of the orang-utan's habitat has been lost - largely to the production of palm oil, a product found in more than half of packaged products in our supermarkets.

Nicola Loweth, Regional Officer at WWF-UK said: Orang-utans are an incredible and iconic species. They play a vital role within their eco-system as the 'gardeners' of the forest - helping to spread large seeds and sustain the natural function of the forest. However, they are under threat. Orang-utans used to be found as far north as southern China right down towards the Indonesian island of Java. However today, orang-utans can only be found in the wild islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Their population has declined by around 50% in the last sixty years."

To support this incredible species, WWF is working to protect orang-utan habitats, restore forests, promote more sustainable forestry and agricultural practices, and tackle the illegal pet trade.

In celebration of World Orang-utan Day, WWF-UK has also compiled ten facts about the incredible species:

1. The orang-utan is known as 'man of the forest' and is the heaviest tree dwelling animal.

2. Over 90% of wild orang-utans have been lost in the past century. Their main threats include unsustainable logging, forest conversion, fire, habitat fragmentation, mining and the illegal pet trade.

3. Orang-utans in Borneo lost over 40,000km2 of habitat between 1990-2004 - an area twice the size of Wales.

4. 60% of an orang-utan's diet is fruit. A huge spiky fruit called durian are the favourite fruit of orang-utans - it is best known for its stench, which has been likened to sewage, rotting flesh and smelly socks.

5. Orang-utans' arms are one and a half times as long as their legs and reach to their ankles when standing. The hands and feet of orang-utans look almost exactly the same.

6. Adult male orang-utans have a beard and moustache. While females do not grow moustaches, some Sumatran female orang-utans will sport a beard.

7. Bornean orang-utans have been seen to take shelter from the sun or rain by holding twigs or leaves over their heads.

8. Some Sumatran orang-utans make a 'glove' out of leaves when handling prickly fruits or thorny branches.

9. An orang-utan can build its nest in less than 10 minutes. In wet weather, they sometimes add a roof.

10. Up to 32 different vocal sounds have been recorded by orang-utans. The orang-utan's 'long call' can be heard by people up to 1,500m away but a sound called the 'kiss squeak' will usually indicates tension or potential danger.

If you feel inspired to help protect these gentle giants and their forest habitat on World Orang-utan Day, you can adopt an orang-utan today at

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Editor's notes

To view the film please visit:

A downloadable version is available upon request.

To download high-res images of orang-utans please visit:
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WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at

For further information, please contact:
Emma Roberts, PR & Personalities Executive at WWF-UK
M: +44 (0)7771 818 682 | E:

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