Malay for 'person of the forest', the orangutan is the world’s largest tree-dwelling mammal, and 97% genetically similar to humans.

Orangutans are known as the 'gardeners of the forest' due to the vital role they play in seed dispersal – assisting in forest growth and regeneration that supports a wealth of biodiversity .

Illegal logging and the burning of rainforests and peat swamp forests to plant oil palm plantations in Borneo and Sumatra remains the biggest threat to the orangutan.

In New Zealand, there's currently no legal requirement to label palm oil or its derivatives, making it difficult to know whether or not you are consuming it. Send an email to the New Zealand government asking for mandatory labelling of palm oil on


Orangutan training session

Taking a blood sample from a male orangutan with a two metre arm-span is no easy task. Watch how our Primate team work with orangutan Charlie during one of his training sessions.