Tapanuli Orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis)
The Tapanuli orangutan is a critically endangered species of great ape. Tapanuli orangutans are only found in the Batang Toru Ecosystem in the three Tapanuli districts within North Sumatra, Indonesia, and one of the most biodiverse areas within Indonesia.
The Tapanuli orangutan holotype was identified in late 2013 after the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme was contacted about an orangutan from Batang Toru that had been severely injured by humans. Sadly, the orangutan passed days later.
The Tapanuli orangutan was finally described as its own distinct species in 2017 after a detailed study on the genetics and morphology of wild orangutans throughout Borneo and Sumatra. They are classified as the most endangered species of great ape.
Researchers also believe that the Bornean group of orangutans split from the Tapanuli group which is why P. tapanuliensis
is more genetically related to Bornean orangutans than that of Sumatran.
As a species, they are identified as having smaller heads and flatter faces compared to the other two other orangutan species.
There are fewer than 800 currently in the wild.
Map of Indonesia. Location of Pongo tapanuliensis are highlighted in green.