Recently, researchers have discovered what seems to be a new species of orangutans on Sumatra, an Indonesia island. They have frizzy hair and unfortunately, are one of the most threatened species of great apes. It seems like there is only a small number of them left to live in an already-fragmented habitat. According to this study, which the journal Current Biology published last week, there are currently only about 800 Pongo tapanuliensis individuals left on the island of Sumatra.
According to the experts, their habitat might soon disappear because of development. This reduced number of individuals makes the species the most extinction-prone in the world today. The researchers have said that people should start acting immediately if they want to keep this species of orangutans alive. The remaining bit of the forest should be preserved so that it can reduce the threat looming over this species.
New and endangered great ape species discovered
It’s interesting that this is the first new species of orangutans that scientists have discovered in about 90 years. Until now, there were only six different species recognized by the science world: Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, western and eastern gorillas and bonobos along with chimpanzees. Moreover, there are scientists who would even categorize humans as great apes, but this approach has been challenged many times.
This species of orangutans lives in the Batang Toru forest in the northern part of the island. When it comes to their appearance, they are a bit different than normal orangutans. They have frizzy hair and smaller heads. They also have a special and unique diet and habitat, making them even more special.
Experts are calling this an amazing discovery which might pressure the Indonesian government to do something to help the species survive. The first step would be to stop developments in the areas where they live in order to protect them.
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