Surprisingly many Sumatran orangutans

18-03-2016

A new report from Science Advance finds that the Sumatran orangutan population is twice the size than what previously estimated. This population increase is unfortunately not a result of improved living conditions for the orangutans on Sumatra, but rather that more orangutans than previously estimated live in production forest areas. The report emphasize that the survival of the orangutan is still threatened by massive deforestation in Indonesia.

Previously, the Sumatran orangutan population has been estimated to include around 7.000 individuals, but a new investigation made by a team of international scientists estimates that the real number is closer to 15.000 individuals. The Sumatran orangutan is related to Borneo’s orangutan but they are two different species and the Sumatran orangutan is distinguished by longer and more orange fur.

Orangutans live in production forest

The team behind the recently published report has used new methods and knowledge about the animal’s behaviour in order to estimate the Sumatran orangutan population. The report presents new knowledge of how high orangutans build their nests, discoveries of orangutan populations in new areas and that more orangutans than previously estimated live in production forest areas.

“These new findings stresses the importance of not only focusing on protected forest when working to save the orangutan, but also to work with forest practises outside protected forest areas” adds Save the Orangutan’s Director Claus Staunstrup Nilsson after reading the report.

The orangutan is still threatened by deforestation

The report emphasize that the Sumatran orangutan is still critically endangered due to the rapid deforestation of its rainforest home. It is estimated that over 4.500 orangutans will disappear before 2030 and the main reason for this is the conversion of rainforest to oil palm plantations and other cultivation.

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