Primarily frugivorous, orangutans have an important role as seed dispersers. They selectively choose ripe fruit whose seeds are adapted to withstand passage through the orangutans' gut. Once the seeds have passed through the gut, they find themselves in their own little compost pile, which helps them to become established.
Unlike oil-palm shoots, orangutans love to eat Nipa palm or Pandanus (pictured above).
What Do Orangutans Eat?
Over 400 food types have been documented as part of the orangutans’ diet, and although it consists mainly of fruit, in times of scarcity orangutans will shift their eating habits to lower quality food, such as bark, leaves & termites, rather than travel to a different area.
How Orangutans Help the Rainforest Ecosystem
As well as acting as seed dispersers, orangutans help to open up the forest canopy. This allows light to reach the forest floor, which helps the forest to regenerate naturally. They are a vital cog in the workings of the rainforest ecosystem.
Some Favourite Orangutan Foods