International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1535–1550 | Cite as

Dietary and Energetic Responses of Pongo abelii to Fruit Availability Fluctuations

  • S. A. Wich
  • S. S. Utami-Atmoko
  • T. Mitra Setia
  • S. Djoyosudharmo
  • M. L. Geurts

Like many primates, orangutans face fluctuations in fruit availability. We show that in Ketambe (Sumatra), fruit availability fluctuations have very little influence on orangutan diet. Most importantly, the percentages of fruits including figs, fruits excluding figs, and figs in their diet do not differ significantly between periods of varying fruit availability. In addition, there is no trace of ketones in orangutan urine samples during periods of varying fruit availability. Unlike 1 orangutan population in Borneo, orangutans in Sumatra experience no prolonged negative energy budget because of fluctuations in fruit availability. Dietary data from other Sumatran and Bornean orangutan populations indicate that the pattern might be representative for a more general difference between Sumatra and Borneo, and we discuss how this might have affected orangutan reproduction and life history for the 2 species.


diet ketones orangutan phenology 



We acknowledge the co-operation and support of the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI, Jakarta), the Indonesian Nature Conservation Service (PHPA) in Jakarta, Medan, and Kutacane (Gunung Leuser National Park Office), Universitas National (UNAS, Jakarta), and the Leuser Development Programme (LDP, Medan). We thank the Netherlands Foundation for the Advancement of Tropical Research (WOTRO) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for their long-term financial support for the orangutan research at Ketambe. S. A. Wich acknowledges the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation and the Lucie Burgers Foundation for Comparative Behaviour Research for funding to compile 32 yr of data from Ketambe, which resulted in this article. We also thank all the field assistants and students from UNAS and Utrecht University who helped collect the data. We thank Cheryl Knott and 2 anonymous reviewers for giving valuable suggestions on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Wich
    • 1
    • 4
  • S. S. Utami-Atmoko
    • 2
  • T. Mitra Setia
    • 2
  • S. Djoyosudharmo
    • 3
  • M. L. Geurts
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Behaviroural Biology DepartmentUtrecht, UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Universitas NasionalJakartaIndonesia
  3. 3.Taman Nasional Gunung LeuserMedanIndonesia
  4. 4.Great Ape Trust of IowaDes MoinesUSA

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