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been put out for them. It is mainly the youngest who end up in this reserve. They look at us

with big, shining eyes. No other animal has quite such a melancholic, intriguing look as an

orangutan does. As if they know how much their species is under threat. In the meantime,

the macaques are also approaching; they install themselves strategically in the neighbour-

hood, waiting for the leftovers.


Since 2016, the orangutan has been on the infamous red list of most endangered species

in the world. The orangutan is only found on Borneo and Sumatra. According to estimates

by the UICN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), only 50,000 of these apes

are still alive. If the current downward trend continues, then these primates will be extinct

in twenty years’ time. Once again, man is the main culprit: forest clearing, hunting and

poaching still take their toll. The name orangutan comes from the Malayan 'orang hutan',

which means 'forest man'. In ancient times, the tribes who lived in the jungle on Borneo

regarded the orangutan as a man possessed by evil spirits. The natives had a panicky fear

of the long-haired, orange-red creatures that looked so much like humans. The orangutan

is 96.7% genetically equal to humans, so they were not far off. Meanwhile, the superstition

has disappeared, but the name has remained.