Orangutan News: Study Suggests There May Be Twice as Many Sumatran Orangutans as Thought

(Photo courtesy of: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo courtesy of: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images)

by John R. Platt for Takepart

There are twice as many Sumatran orangutans alive than previously thought but the critically endangered great ape is far from out of the woods, say researchers who conducted the landmark survey.

Loss of forest habitat is the biggest threat facing Sumatran orangutans, followed by the illegal pet trade and poaching. Fires lit to illegally clear land for conversion to palm oil plantations continue to burn throughout Indonesia, destroying some of the orangutans’ remaining habitat.

Wich and his colleagues estimated there were about 14,600 living in the wild, compared with the 6,600 Wich and colleagues estimated in 2008.

Earlier estimates suggested the population had dropped by 80% in the past 75 years and Wich said the new findings would not significantly change that figure.

“There has been so much forest loss in Sumatra during the past decades that the population will still have declined [about] that much, albeit a bit less.”

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Takepart and can be read in its entirety here.

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