IUCN Red List status:

Critically Endangered

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org

Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

Orangutans are amongst the most intelligent animals on the planet.

At Chester Zoo we have both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans.Originally the islands were connected to each other until around 40,000 years ago, allowing each species to evolve independently. Orangutans are our closest living relatives on the planet, sharing 97% of our DNA.

There isn’t a huge amount of differences, but Bornean orangutans spend more time on the ground than their Sumatran relatives. It’s thought that this is due to the threat of tigers in Sumatra which keeps the apes up in the safety of the trees.

The Bornean orangutan is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products in the UK from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

In 2019, we succeeded in making Chester the WORLD’S FIRST ‘Sustainable Palm Oil City.’ Our experts worked with restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, schools and workplaces in the city to introduce sustainable palm oil policies into their supply chain.

Read more about our SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL CHALLENGE here!

Orangutans share 97% of our DNA

Threat of hunting and habitat loss due to palm oil plantations is pushing these magnificent animals to the BRINK of EXTINCTION.

We’re working RIGHT NOW with our partners in the field to ensure the survival of this species. Our experts are carrying out important research and providing education to local communities in order to save orangutans in Southeast Asia.

Find out more about what we’re doing to help orangutans in Southeast Asia
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Because ACT FOR WILDLIFE is supported by Chester Zoo, 100% OF YOUR DONATIONS go straight to OUR CONSERVATION WORK! That’s pretty special.  We couldn’t PREVENT EXTINCTION without YOU!