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The name “orang-utan” conjures up very different images to different people: shy, elusive man of the forest; a tantalising glimpse into unknown worlds of the jungles of the Far East; an endearing, appealing and amusing star of popular movies; the highlight of a visit to the zoo. Now widely considered to comprise two closely-related species, the true nature of orang-utans continues to fascinate and intrigue us. Orang-utans are in the record book for several reasons: they are amongst our closest relatives; they are the largest primates in Asia, and the largest tree-dwelling animals in the world. Their uncanny resemblance to humans means that they have long been the subject of local myths and legends, and anecdotes about their lives peppered the writings of early explorers and naturalists. Once widespread throughout East and Southeast Asia, orang-utans now occur only in the tropical rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo, and their range and numbers are still shrinking rapidly. Their high agility and intelligence and largely solitary life-style have adapted them perfectly to the difficulties of surviving in such forests, but are they sufficient to allow them to survive into the rapidly changing environment of the twenty-first century?
This popular book takes us into the natural world of orang-utans and their rain forest home. It explores all aspects of the orang-utans’ lives, from myths and legends to their family tree, distribution, life history, ecology, social life, tool-making and language skills, through to their conservation and future prospects. This second edition of the book is even more richly illustrated with lavish colour photographs throughout, many never published before, to give us a true insight into the world of some of nature’s most fascinating, beautiful and best-loved wild animals.