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  Life   More Features  04 May 2018  World's rarest ape on the edge of extinction

World's rarest ape on the edge of extinction

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : May 4, 2018, 4:48 pm IST
Updated : May 4, 2018, 4:48 pm IST

Fewer than 800 members of Tapanuli Orangutan survive and they are constantly under assault from man-made sources.

The most imminent threat to the species discovered last year in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a planned USD 1.6 billion mega-dam project that would be constructed by a Chinese state-owned corporation, researchers said.
 The most imminent threat to the species discovered last year in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a planned USD 1.6 billion mega-dam project that would be constructed by a Chinese state-owned corporation, researchers said.

Melbourne: Tapanuli Orangutan - the rarest ape species on the planet - could lose its battle for survival, unless decisive steps are taken to rescue it, scientists said today.

Fewer than 800 members of the species survive, and they are under assault from mega-projects, deforestation, road building, and poaching, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology.

The most imminent threat to the species discovered last year in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a planned USD 1.6 billion mega-dam project that would be constructed by a Chinese state-owned corporation, researchers said.

"If it proceeds, the dam will flood crucial parts of the ape's habitat, while chopping up its remaining habitat with new roads and powerlines," said Jatna Supriatna, a professor at the University of Indonesia.

"This is just the seventh species of Great Ape ever discovered, and it could go extinct right before our eyes," said Supriatna.

"In forty years of research, I do not think I have ever seen anything this dramatic," said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia.

The team discovered the ape survives only in areas with virtually no roads, which promote illegal logging, clearing, and poaching.

"This is a critical test for China and Indonesia. They say they want sustainable development - but words are cheap," said Laurance.

"Without urgent action, this could be ecological Armageddon for one of our closest living relatives," he added.

Tags: orangutan, extinction, habitat loss, pets and environment, tapanuli orangutan, university of indonesia