Sumatran Orangutan

Island of Sumatra, Republic of Indonesia 

Primarily wild fruits, figs, vegetation, mineral soil, insects, In the Zoo- leaf eater pellets, canned primate diet, fruit, vegetables.

Primary rainforests from sea level to an elevation 4,900 feet.

dark rufous or reddish brown hairy coat is rather thin and shaggy. Mature males develop facial pads made of subcutaneous fat. The fur may be sparse and short or very long and corded. 

There are two subspecies of orangutans still surviving in Asia today only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The Sumatran is the rarest. The Zoo has two Sumatran orangutans in the Asia section. Each subspecies is very different in looks and behavior. Orangutans are endangered due to fragmentation of their natural habitat loss. In the last 20 years orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia have lost 80% of their habitat. Since 1990 the wild population has decreased by up to 50%. There may now be as few as only 14,000 animals left of two subspecies across the entire region.

We have a pair of Sumatran orangutans named Ibu and Butch.  Ibu was born August 1, 1991 at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and came to the El Paso Zoo on June 16, 1997.  Her new companion is Butch.  He was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo on August 19, 1985 and came to the El Paso Zoo on March 29, 2011. Ibu is an artist and her work has been published in a book available on entitled “Fur in My Paint.”  

On April 23, 2015 the Zoo's first Sumatran orangutan born. Ibu and Butch welcomed their first baby overnight. Ibu and the female baby are doing well. Ibu is doing a great job for a first-time mom and is very attentive and gentle. She is doing everything right. She cleaned the baby, is holding her appropriately and the baby appears to be nursing. The baby is also holding on to mom with a tight grip. According to the birthing plan, the Zoo is allowing Ibu and the baby to bond behind the scenes. The Zoo will assess their progress in a few weeks to determine when mommy and baby may be on exhibit. For up-to-date information on their progress, visit

Read about orangutans online and check out books from your local library. Become a member of the El Paso Zoological Society. Funds raised by the Society are used to support conservation efforts at the El Paso Zoo and in the wild. Adopt an orangutan from the El Paso Zoological Society. Learn more at

For an interesting family activity watch for our orangutans each day at around 12:30pm when our keepers place special enrichment out for them in their exhibit. Enrichment is a term zoos use to describe any activity provided by keepers to help create opportunities for animals to exhibit natural behaviors. Your children can adopt an orangutan from the El Paso Zoological Society. Funds support the Zoo’s conservation and education efforts. Children can use their own money or get their classmates and friends involved and adopt an animal as a group.