The Tapanuli orangutan, a new species – was announced officially by a universal team of scientists in 2017. Around 800 people, the Tapanuli orangutans are among the rarest of all the great apes.
The two orangutans’ species were renowned previously – the Sumatran orangutans and the Bornean orangutans. The third one lives in North Sumatra; however, it is behaviorally and genetically different from the other two.
Exploration of Tapanuli Orangutan
In Current Biology, a universal team of scientists explains this new species. Pongo tapanuliensis (Tapanuli orangutan) is different from other orangutans’ species depending on genomic and morphological evidence. This new species is pervasive to 475 square miles of the upland forest in the Sumatra’s Batang Toru Ecosystem and is supposed to have been separated from other populations for around 10,000 to 20,000 years.
In 1997, the Tapanuli orangutan was discovered during a survey in the area. Over the next era, the SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme) and Indonesian authorities, universities, and other non-governmental firms concentrated on learning more about the species. In 2006, the research station was made to see the genetics and behavior of orangutans’ species.
In 2013, there came an innovation when the investigators inspected the skull of the orangutan killed in the conflict of humans and wildlife. The skull of Batang Taru exhibited apparent different features when compared to orangutans from other species. This finding provoked the vital genomic study of wild orangutans to date. Because of it, the data got clearly explained showed three different evolutionary heredities among all orangutans’ species.
The Decision of a New Species
The detection of a new species in the 21st century is the reason to celebrate. However, it is a CTA (call to action) as well. Similar to all the orangutans’ species, the Tapanuli is a threat. The human encroachment – in this situation from mining and hydroelectric dam planning – and hunting place the orangutans at abrupt risk.
“If no step is taken quickly to lessen future and current threats to conserve the remaining forest,” the investigators explain in their content, “we can see the detection and extinction of this greats ape species in our lifetime.”
WWF has found the Batang Toru landscape, including the habitat of Tapanuli orangutan, as it is among the priority landscapes for conserving the species.
“This detection not only shows how much we still have no idea about our planet’s biodiversity; however, sheds light on the hazardous position species such as the Tapanuli orangutans, are in as the forest habitats are threatened by conversion,” explained by the senior officer for species in Asia, WWF, Nilnga Jayasinghe.” “It is significant to address numerous threats to their home if we need to protect their future.”