endangered species orangutan

This is the next post for the Endangered Animal Crochet Project, through which I hope to raise awareness about endangered animals and offer you ways to do the same. There will sadly be several different posts for the apes since so many of them are endangered; we will begin today with the orangutan. Learn a little more about the animal here and check out the cute orangutan crochet patterns I’ve collected. If you use any of these patterns, feel free to share them on social media with the #endangeredanimalcrochet hashtag and / or submit them for a feature here on the blog; don’t forget to credit the pattern designer too! All info in this post.

Endangered Animal: Orangutan

orangutan family

There are four different species of orangutans, most of which live in Borneo and the rest in Sumatra. They are about 4′ – 5′ tall and weigh about the same as an average adult human making them the largest tree-dwelling animals in the world.

orangutan endangered species facts

source: Center for Great Apes

Orangutans can live 40-50 years but humans are killing them off at a rapid rate. Both the Sumatran and Bornean species of orangutan are listed as Critically Endangered by the World Wildlife Fund who remind us that “these great apes share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent creatures.” They also explain:

orangutan hand

“Of the nine existing populations of Sumatran orangutans, only seven have prospects of long-term viability, each with an estimated 250 or more individuals. Only three populations contain more than 1,000 orangutans.”


Bornean orangutan populations have declined by more than 50% over the past 60 years, and the species’ habitat has been reduced by at least 55% over the past 20 years.”

One of the major causes of their rapid demise is habitat loss due to deforestation for palm oil production. One of the things that you can do today is make sure not to purchase any products including palm oil in the ingredients! This issue affects many other animals as well, not to mention the impact on the environment as a whole. Learn more from Say No To Palm Oil!


Organizations That Help Orangutans

Many of the conservation efforts to help orangutans involve planting new trees to help replace the devastated area as well as raising awareness to end the deforestation. Other efforts include creating protected natural habitats, rehabilitating animals rescued from the pet trade and working on breeding already captive orangutans to preserve the species. Some of the organizations I have found that help orangutans include:

  • Center for Great Apes whose “mission is to provide a permanent sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees who have been rescued or retired from the entertainment industry, from research, or from the exotic pet trade.”
  • World Wildlife Fund offers the opportunity to virtually adopt an orangutan; they use the funds to help secure protected areas while also working to end illegal orangutan poaching.
  • Save The Orangutan works to protect orangutans in the wild as well as rescue orangutans captured for the pet and entertainment trade.
  • The Orangutan Project secured almost 100,000 acres of rainforest in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem and is on a mission to protect orangutans in the wild.

One Green Planet also has a list of 10 recommended organizations to save orangutans.

Orangutan Crochet Patterns

amigurumi orangutan crochet pattern

One of the cutest orangutan crochet patterns is the amigurumi pattern Orwell the Orangutan who was designed by Moji Moji. The pattern can be found with lots of other great animal crochet patterns in the book Zoomigurumi 4 but the individual crochet pattern can also be purchased on Ravelry. What I love most about this one is the combination of fuzzy yarns with regular yarn to create different textures on this ape!

orangutan crochet pattern

Oscar the Orangutan crochet pattern is also worked in a combination of yarns. He has a very posable body that makes him a fun toy to play with. He is shown here with a toy banana; did you know that orangutans primarily eat a diet of fruit, which is another reason that the loss of their habitat is devastating to their survival? This pattern is by IlDikko.

baby orangutan crochet pattern

This baby orangutan crochet pattern named Stan by designer bvoe668 on Etsy also comes with the instructions to crochet him a half-peeled banana toy. Stan is about 19″ tall and is made with a yarn that you can wire brush to create a fuzzy animal fur look.

edwards menagerie orangutan crochet pattern

Edward’s Menagerie is one of the best crochet books for animals, including many of the endangered animal species. The orangutan crochet pattern can be found in that book or for sale individually online. As a bonus TOFT Shop has created a free orangutan crochet pattern for the twin baby orangutan girls pictured here to go along with the adult.

itty bitty orangutan crochet pattern

The Itty Bitty Orangutan is a free crochet pattern for a 5″ doll perfectly sized to fit on your desk and serve as a conversation starter about orangutan conservation. This pattern is from Vintage Nettles who originally designed as a gift for a friend who collects orangutan items. You’ll notice that many of the orangutan crochet patterns, like this one, are worked with a red/orange yarn, which represents the fur color most often seen on orangutans although they can range from a pale red to dark brown.

baby orangutan crochet pattern

How cute is this little baby orangutan crochet pattern? Those big eyes and that fuzzy face are just adorable. This crochet pattern, sold on Ravelry by Rosaura Valdez, is written in both US and UK terminology (in English) as well as in a Spanish version, making it very versatile for beginner crocheters.

mango the orangutan crochet pattern

Mango the Orangutan is a cute cuddly toy designed by Stacey Trock. The crochet pattern can be found in her book Crocheted Softies.

orangutan male crochet pattern

As you might have noticed most of the available orangutan crochet patterns look like baby orangutans or female orangutans. Older male orangutans have flanges on their faces that give them a completely different look, which you can see represented in this monkey crochet pattern from LittleOwlsHut, sold through Ravelry.

small orangutan crochet pattern

This small orangutan crochet pattern has a bit of the full face as well. It is sold on Ravelry by Peggy H. Reed who explains that he can be made to look more like a gorilla or generic monkey with some yarn color changes.

orangutan ape hat crochet pattern

Almost all of the available orangutan crochet patterns are for amigurumi toys but there are a few exceptions, the cutest of which is this orangutan animal hat crochet pattern from designer Ira Rott. It is made using basic crochet stitches and the instructions come with lots of photos and details to make crafting this hat easy.

orangutan crochet animal hat pattern

Jenia’s Designs also offers a cute orangutan crochet hat pattern that can be worked in two different ways to make more of a costume or more of an everyday hat. This comes in sizes from 6 months through adult to fit everyone; a set of them could make for a cute family photo – which you can share as another great way to raise awareness about orangutan conservation!

orangutan animal pen topper crochet pattern

All About Cross Stitch on Etsy sells this DMC pen topper crochet pattern set that includes five different animals, one of which is the orangutan.

Orangutan Crochet Projects

The following three orangutan crochet projects don’t come with patterns but they are both fun and special so I wanted to share them here for further inspiration:

planet june crochet orangutan

Planet June created this crochet orangutan art piece and although she usually offers animal amigurumi patterns (some of the best ones out there) this is a one-off without a pattern. In her post, she shares the story behind him, which itself offers us a reminder that it’s not about the pattern – it’s about the creative process. I wanted to share it here because I love the way its shape really captures its adorable animal behaviors.

crochet orangutan circus

This amigurumi crochet circus orangutan named Bella was made by SmartAppleCreations. Although the little circus features make her super cute, it’s also a good reminder that orangutans have been captured for the entertainment industry where they are often treated terribly. Rescue efforts include those to help such orangutans.

crochet orangutan dog snood

This crochet orangutan dog snood is sold by Dog Park Publishing (as a finished item). Use it to start conversations on the street with others about orangutan conservation (and to make your dog look cute).

It’s Your Turn!

One of the goals of the Endangered Animal Crochet Project is to offer you ways to participate to raise awareness. One quick way is to share this post on social media. After that, perhaps you want to crochet an orangutan using any of these patterns (or your own original design) then do one or more of the following:

  • Tag it with #endangeredanimalcrochet and share it on social media.
  • Submit it with your Q&A form for a feature on this site. Find the questions here.
  • Sell it to raise money for charity and contribute a donation to one of the organizations linked here or another of your choosing. Remember to check with the pattern designer to make sure it’s okay for you to sell items made with their pattern.

If you know of any other orangutan crochet patterns, especially if the designer donates a portion of proceeds to a related cause, please feel free to mention it in the comments here. You can also share any thoughts you have (positive only, we don’t do negativity on this blog) about why it’s important to care about endangered animals in general and leopards specifically. There will be additional upcoming posts about other endangered monkeys and great apes, likely starting with the gorilla, so feel free to send info about those patterns my way as well!

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