Monday, April 23, 2018

World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam

Last November scientists made a jaw-dropping announcement: they’d discovered a new great ape hiding in plain sight, only the eighth inhabiting our planet. 
A new species of great ape – the Tapanuli
orangutan – is down to just 800 individuals. 
The Tapanuli orangutan survives in northern Sumatra and it is already the most endangered great ape in the world; researchers estimate less than 800 individuals survive. But the discovery hasn’t stopped a Chinese state-run company, Sinohydro, from moving ahead with clearing forest for a large dam project smack in the middle of the orangutan population. According to several orangutan experts, Sinohyrdo’s dam represents an immediate and existential threat to the Tapanuli orangutan. 

“Building the dam means chopping the orangutan population in half,” Erik Meijaard, the director of Borneo Futures and one of the experts to describe Pongo tapanuliensis, said. “You end up with two smaller populations, and these will have much reduced chances of survival, because a small population is more likely to go extinct than a large one.”

Read the story by Jeremy Hance fromThe Guardian - “World’s newest great ape threatened by Chinese dam.”

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