Join our zoo community

Orangutan Species Rarity

Discussion in 'North America - General' started by Mary, 3 Dec 2023.

  1. Mary

    Mary Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Apr 2023
    Posts:
    167
    Location:
    New York City
    Hey all! I'm just curious about which subspecies of orangutan is considered the less common in North American zoos? It seems there is a decent population of both Sumatran and Bornean, so I'm wondering if one is preferred over the other.
     
  2. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member Premium Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2015
    Posts:
    3,740
    Location:
    California
    In terms of population, the Bornean is slightly more numerous than Sumatran. In terms of holders, it seems to be roughly an even split.

    Source is the list on this page: North American Orangutan Population

    That's before getting into possible Tapanuli orangutans and hybrids, which would be from the Sumatran population.
     
    Wisp O' Mist and Mary like this.
  3. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member 5+ year member

    Joined:
    27 Aug 2018
    Posts:
    4,630
    Location:
    Earth
    Orangutans are one of the taxa in which multiple different populations (in this case Sumatran and Bornean) are managed collectively as a single SSP. As a result, while institutions do get some say into which species they house, the SSP can do a better job of balancing the number of holders and/or using holding space to support the program more in need of help than if there were two SSPs competing with each other for identical exhibit spaces. Other examples of SSPs managed this way include the three tiger subspecies, the three spider monkey SSPs, the three gibbon SSPs, and both red panda species (however in some of these cases the holdings are not nearly as balanced as with orangutans). It's a strategy though that I think would be effective expanded towards even more cases where zoos manage multiple, very similar taxa.
     
    Mary, SwampDonkey and Wisp O' Mist like this.
  4. Mary

    Mary Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Apr 2023
    Posts:
    167
    Location:
    New York City
    Both replies very helpful, thank you both!
     
    Wisp O' Mist likes this.
  5. antilio capra

    antilio capra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2023
    Posts:
    187
    Location:
    Aieaa
    So no tapanulis? or none that can be confirmed?
    The internet isn't the most helpful when look it up.
     
  6. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    1 Nov 2013
    Posts:
    1,659
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    None that can be confirmed. I believe multiple members have indicated it's possible there are some in the captive population as no testing has been done so far to clear this up.
     
    antilio capra likes this.
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    14,894
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Not quite; one has been confirmed but is now deceased, with some hybrid descendants still living. The known facts have been summarised within the following post:

    There is, of course, a chance more may be discovered - but I think the testing of the US population in this regard has been completed now, so it may be unlikely.
     
  8. antilio capra

    antilio capra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Dec 2023
    Posts:
    187
    Location:
    Aieaa
    So until further notice no pure tapanulis but a few hybird ones which I suspect will hybridize until it fades away.
     
  9. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member 10+ year member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    14,894
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Or far likelier, those hybrids still young enough to breed will be prevented from doing so.