The orangutan doesn’t have very many predators by nature. However, they also don’t have very much to defend themselves with so it is a good match. The fact that they are found almost always in the trees helps to protect them from a variety of land animals. However, they are known to be on the ground about 5% of the time. They may do so more often too if they are running short on food supplies up higher.
The tiger and other big cats are known to make meals out of orangutans, especially the smaller ones. They can hide well in the forest and pounce quickly before the orangutan has a chance to move. They also can climb into the trees so if they aren’t having much luck finding food on the ground they will go up higher. These big cats are often night time hunters which is when they orangutans will be sleeping.
It seems that as the natural habitats in the rainforests are getting smaller the orangutans face more threats from the tigers. While their numbers are low as well, they are facing problems finding enough food out there. They often share the same food sources with many other animals too. They are one of the few animals with the ability to get into the trees though so there isn’t much competition when it comes to feeding on the orangutans.
Large pythons that live in the trees are also a threat to them. They blend in so well to the surroundings that even those that are many feet long can go undetected. Pythons can wrap themselves around an orangutan very tightly and hold on even though these animals are very strong and powerful.
Humans are the biggest threat and predators to orangutans on many levels. First, they continually destroy the natural habitat of these animals. They have less room to survive in and often have a hard time finding adequate supplies of food. They are often hunted for sport too. Sometimes they are hunted for meat but that isn’t a very common occurrence.
Orangutans are often captured alive, the mothers killed and then the young sold for pets. When these young orangutans can be intercepted they are orphans so they really can’t be returned to the wild. They will then be placed in captivity such as in zoos for the rest of their lives.
Even with many efforts in place to protect them, many humans are determined to get the value from these animals. The penalties for harming them or killing them isn’t very severe either. It is often the middlemen that do get caught when it comes to these types of operations though. The people that are really behind it and that are making the big money stay well behind the scenes.
Humans have always been predators of orangutans but that has increased in the past several decades. Due to the fact that humans want the same land, they have better weapons, and the number of people in generally has increased there just doesn’t seem to be much left that they are willing to share with the orangutans. Many humans have the mentality that they can take what is out there and not worry about what it does to the natural balance of things.
Many people have heard stories too about orangutans attacking humans. There is no truth to them being meat eaters or hunting humans. That is often a story told to try to justify the killing of these animals though. Orangutans are wild animals but they don’t pose much threat to humans. They can become aggressive if they feel threatened though.