Northwest Bornean orang-utan, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus (Linnaeus, 1760), is one of the three sup-species of Pongo pygmaeus in Borneo.
When you think of Borneo’s wildlife, the orang utan will come to your mind almost immediately. I’ve seen these forest people, because that’s what orang utan translates to, a few times in the wild but even after more than 10 years of wildlife experience in Borneo, I don’t get tired of watching these majestic kings of the forest. It is probably the appearance and behavior of these wild creatures that makes you freeze immediately after seeing an orangutan. We look each other into the eyes and probably ask each other what the opposite is thinking. The orang utans are far superior to us in the rainforest, their strength and knowledge of different food sources makes them the real rainforest experts.
Already Alfred Russel Wallace described the Orang Utan in his famous masterpiece The Malay Archipelago as “mias pappan” or “mias chappan”. He wrote that this name is used by the Dayak, but the term Dayak is not specific enough, because Dayak is not a tribe but describes all indigenous peoples of Borneo.
The term Mias is very common among the Iban from the Uli Ai region and still use this term today. In other regions this name is completely unknown.