Orangutan Island TV Poster Image

Orangutan Island



Cute, fuzzy reality stars will captivate families.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Offers insight into animal behavior and celebrates the orangutans' loyalty to each other and the efforts they make to survive in their new home. It also demonstrates how different personalities can co-exist and thrive and puts a relatable face on the victims of wilderness extinction.

Violence & scariness

Minor scuffles erupt among the orangutans for dominance within the society, but there are no lasting injuries. Some tense moments when the animals face threats from predators or intruders. For instance, an older, more aggressive intruder bullies the youngsters for their food supply.

Sexy stuff

Occasional mention of the animals' sexual maturity and desire to attract the opposite sex.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that it's easy to develop an attachment to the hairy stars of this reality show, so sensitive viewers of all ages may find themselves very affected by the orangutans' emotional ups and downs. And you may find yourself starting the "birds and bees" conversation with young kids after references to sexual maturity and attracting a mate. But otherwise, this engaging series -- which captures some fascinating animal behavior and draws attention to endangered species -- is great family viewing.

What's the story?

ORANGUTAN ISLAND chronicles the challenges and triumphs of a unique society of rehabilitated orphan orangutans, who have been relocated to a protected jungle island in Borneo to -- hopefully -- succeed at living in the wild. The 35 orangutans -- all of whom were orphaned as babies through hunting, development, or inhumane sale as pets -- are young by the species' standards; most range in age from 4 to 6 (maturity isn't reached until age 9). The were raised at a rescue-and-reintroduction center, where staff and volunteers acted as surrogate moms, teaching the animals the basics of surviving in the wild. At \"forest school,\" the orangutan toddlers learned essential skills like foraging for food, avoiding predators, and building sleeping nests. Now, years later, they're slowly being encouraged to live on their own in the closest thing to their endangered natural rainforest habitat that's available: a secluded island sanctuary that will offer them independence as well as ongoing observation and occasional visits from the rescue center staff. But to make it work, the animals will have to shake off their species' instinctive solitude and band together.

Is it any good?


The show chronicles the daily ups and downs of the orangutans' transition. Narration puts words to their behavior, pointing out signs of happiness, melancholy, tension, and jealousy. As viewers become more acquainted with the main "cast" -- including Cha Cha, who has a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings; Daisy, an outgoing 6-year-old; and Saturnus, a rebellious male who likes to be the center of attention -- they'll enjoy watching relationships develop amid the forming social hierarchy.

Orangutan Island is worthwhile entertainment for families, as it exposes viewers to animal behavior and, with some prompting, can instigate thoughtful discussions about conservation, the plight of endangered species, and even global warming. But be forewarned that it's easy to get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of these beautiful animals' struggles, so you may want to check it out before sharing it with particularly sensitive youngsters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's messages about wildlife endangerment and preservation. How do things like deforestation and humans' land use affect other creatures? What types of animals, insects, and plants are being threatened? What does it mean when a species is endangered? What attempts are being made to preserve animals' natural habitats and conserve natural resources? How can people help the efforts at home? Families can also discuss how this show is similar to and different from reality shows focused on humans. Which do you like better? Why?

TV details

Premiere date:November 2, 2007
Cast:Lone Droscher-Nielsen
Network:Animal Planet
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Science and nature, Wild animals
TV rating:TV-G

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Parent Written bypaulbrainerd November 14, 2015

My Child LOVES this!

My 14 month old child watches this each and every morning with his milk. He is mesmerized by it. Thank You for a health wonderful show!
Parent of a 16 year old Written byJokawild103 March 14, 2011

Chen Chen, Cha Cha, Hamlet, Daisy, Saturnus, Jordan, baby Hardy and the other Orangutans became part of my family:)

I LOVE THIS SHOW!!!! Orangutan Island became a part of my life over the last few months and I am sickened to hear that it was cancelled. Here in Hawaii the shows air at 4am and I would stay up just to watch. I was so fascinated with Orangutans I even went to visit the Honolulu Zoo just to see them in real life.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

"Orangutans are the new Meerkats!" I DON'T THINK SO!!!!

"Rust is the new black, and Orangutans are the new Meerkats!" What bozo wrote that dumb review? Forgive me, please, but this show is downright mediocre! I'll have you know that stupid, fat, ugly apes ARE NOT under ANY circumstances "the new Meerkats"!!!!! This so called "dramatic" show is NOT dramatic, and it's a waste of time! The narrorator stinks, the orangutans have idiotic names, and it's just a melo-dramatic spectacle. Truthfully, I'd rather watch THREE HOURS STRAIGHT OF KID NATION than this show(now, that's really saying something!)! Meerkat Manor is soooo much better! It's a mix of drama AND comedy! Long story short, this show is a piece of junk.