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Researchers have discovered a new orangutan species in Indonesia and classified it as endangered.
In 2013, researchers stationed at Batang Toru in Indonesia came across a male orangutan skeleton. After studying the skeleton closely and referring to available data on the behavioral and habitual differences of orangutans, the researchers found that the skeleton belongs to a different species. The orangutan used to be considered part of the Sumatran orangutan population, but it is now identified as the Tapanuli orangutan.
Besides its physical and genetic difference from other species, the Tapanuli orangutan also consumes a different diet and dwell in a habitat located mainly in the uplands.
The researchers felt very triumphant because a major discovery on apes has finally come to light after almost 90 years. However, they are alarmed that only about 800 of the species are alive, leaving them endangered. The researchers believe that the number of deaths among the orangutans is increasing as the forests slowly deteriorate.
Aside from habitat loss, the most common threats that orangutans face are illegal pet trade, hunting, and forest fires. The risk of extinction will get higher if the forests and animals are left unprotected.
To ensure the preservation of the species, the researchers suggested that the Tapanuli orangutan’s habitats should be connected together and be linked to protected areas. They also sought the participation of the government by abolishing projects that destroy the forest, like the installation of power plants.
With these initiatives and the growing attention from the media, Orangutan Foundation International president Dr. Galdikas expects that people will actively participate in the protection of the orangutan population.