, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 61–72 | Cite as

Reproductive parameters of female orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) 1971–2011, a 40-year study at Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

  • Biruté Mary Galdikas
  • Alison Ashbury
Original Article


This study presents reproductive parameter data gathered by direct observation over a 40-year period (1971–2011) of the provisioned free-ranging population of orangutans at Camp Leakey in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Age at first reproduction, interbirth interval (IBI), sex ratio at birth, and infant mortality for 19 female orangutans (11 first-generation wild-born ex-captive mothers and 8 second-generation mothers) are included in this analysis. Age at first reproduction among the first-generation mothers was similar to that among wild orangutans, while second-generation mothers had a significantly earlier age at first reproduction. IBIs were similar among first- and second-generation mothers and were significantly shorter than those recorded in studies of wild orangutan populations. There was an expected male-biased sex ratio at birth and a slightly higher than expected rate of infant mortality when compared to wild populations. Infant mortality was primarily seen among second-generation mothers who gave birth before the age of 12, and among first births of some first-generation mothers. These results lend support to the ecological energetics hypothesis, which predicts that increased diet quality leads to a faster rate of reproduction.


Orangutans Life history Reproductive parameters Interbirth interval Rehabilitation Mortality rates Age at first reproduction 



We thank the government of Indonesia and its officials for their continued support of the long-term orangutan research and conservation work discussed in this paper. We thank LIPI, the Forestry Department, and the governments of Kalimantan Tengah and the regency of Kotawaringin Barat, particularly the late Dr. Soedjarwo, the late General Soesilo Sudarman, the late General Maulani, the late Prof. Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, the late G. Binti, late W. Gara, and Ir. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, former Forestry Ministers Kaban and Djamaludin, Regent Ujang Iskandar, and Village Chief Uncum. The work reported here was initially supported by the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation and National Geographic Society and currently by the Orangutan Foundation International. We thank Dr. Nancy Briggs, John Beal, Steven Karbank, Peter Hayes, Vanessa Getty, Barbara Spencer, Norman Lear, Gerald Sugarman, Ann Levine, Albertino Abela, Eric Raymond, Suzy Dorr, J. Wilkie, Pak Bohap, and Fred and Jane Galdikas as well as Binti Brindamour, Jeff Lawrence, Geoff and Sharon Rendell, Patti Silver, Jeannie and Garth Friesen, Irene Spencer, S. Berman, Junann Holmes, Jane Lin, Charlotte Grimm, Ralph Arbus, Andrea Gorzitze, Ed Wald, Corinne Lee, Susan Landibar, Aldona Galdikas, the late Algis Galdikas, and the late Antanas and Filomena Galdikas. We thank colleagues at Simon Fraser University, including David Burley, Eldon Yellowhorn, Andrew Barton, Annie Ross, Ingrid Bell, Roy Carlson, the late Richard Shutler, the late Phil Hobler. We thank the many local assistants who helped collect the long-term data, including Pak Umar, Pak Enoi, Pak Sia, Pak Polis, Pak Tumin, Pak Uki, Pak Tempalaku, Pak Laju, Pak Sehat, Pak Kuncang, Pak Uil, and Pak Tamel. We also thank Ibu Renie Djojoasmoro and Ibu Waliyati for their dedicated assistance. The second author thanks Maria van Noordwijk, Erik Willems, Ruth Linskey, Jessica Harding, and specifically thanks Biruté Mary Galdikas for wisdom, guidance and inspiration. We also thank the editors of this journal and the two anonymous reviewers who provided helpful feedback and truly improved our paper.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.Orangutan Foundation InternationalLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Anthropological Institute and MuseumUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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