Orangutan News: Secret Population of Rare Orangutan Discovered in Borneo

A male orangutan hangs from a tree in Gunung Leuser National Park in Langkat district of the Indonesia's North Sumatra Park. (Photo : Reuters)
A male orangutan hangs from a tree in Gunung Leuser National Park in Langkat district of the Indonesia’s North Sumatra Park. (Photo : Reuters)

by Catherine Griffin for Science World Report

A rare species of orangutan can be found in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Only numbering about 200 individuals, these primates are listed as the most severely threatened orangutan worldwide. Now, they may be getting a little extra protection. The Government of Sarawak is planning on protecting this population for future generations.

This sub-species of orangutan is known as the Pongo pygmaeus. Like other great apes, these orangutans are highly intelligent, and display advanced tool use and cultural patterns in the wild. In fact, some have even witnessed these creatures using makeshift spears to catch fish. The third heaviest living primate after the two species of gorilla, it can weigh as much as 220 pounds. It consumes everything from wild figs to leaves to seeds to bird eggs to insects. It’s estimated that only 3,000 to 4,500 of these animals still exist in the world, 2,000 of which live in Sarawak in Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary.

Yet this new population was unknown until now. It was only through the efforts of field surveys that they were discovered at all. Researchers covered 154 miles of transects in the hilly, undulating terrain in central Borneo. They were eventually able to locate 995 nests in the area, including fresh ones.

Bornean orangutans continue to drop in population numbers. The species suffers from deforestation due to the creation of oil-palm plantations, and are sometimes hunted.

This excerpt from a news story appeared in and is courtesy of Science World Report. it can be read in its entirety by clicking this link.

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