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Jakarta Post

For orangutans, less food means lowered fertility

  • Tifa Asrianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 4 2011   /  08:00 am

Ever-changing weather cycles have contributed to the declining population of orangutans, an animal which has a limited child-conceiving cycle, a scientist says.

Boston University biological anthropologist Cheryl Knott said that in the high fruit season, the great apes’ females are more likely to conceive than in the low season.

“Mast fruiting season has between two and seven year intervals due to El Nino weather. During the mast fruiting, up to 80 percent of trees bear fruit at the same time, affecting the diet of the orangutan,” she said during a seminar held in Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology.

Knott, who has been observing the great apes for a decade at the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Project in West Kalimantan, said during the high fruit season, orangutans eat various fruits available, with intake amounting to up to 11,000 calories per day. ...