Sumatran orangutans is one of the species of orangutans. They are important since there are only two species of the orangutans in the world. The species were in danger by totally being eliminated from the world however the last research about these great apes gave some good results such as the current number of the living apes in the wild is almost two times more than imagined. Yet, this is not good enough to relax about the extinction of this species. Their current number is about 14,6K but in the event that we will destroy the forests this much fast the extinction is inevitable.
A recent survey has discovered that there are about 14,600 Sumatran orangutans existing today, which is more than twice the originally estimated figure of 6,600. Still, the apes are far from being out of the woods, as scientists believe that the continued threat of poaching and habitat loss could keep compromising their numbers. Specifically, about 4,500 orangutans may die out in the next 14 years if deforestation plans go through as expected.
“It is very exciting to find there are more Sumatran orangutans than we thought, but this does not mean that we can be complacent,” warned Liverpool John Moores University researcher Dr. Serge Wich in a statement.
A team of European and Indonesian scientists discovered over 3,000 orangutan nests in Sumatra, which added to the findings from earlier studies. These existing surveys had failed to count orangutans living in northern Sumatra, those in logged forests, elevated areas, and west of Lake Toba. And while the research has been encouraging for the fate of the Sumatran orangutan, Wich stressed that development projects in the area make it paramount that officials prevent the apes from being further endangered.
“We will need to continue to work with the Indonesian government and other parties to ensure that this scenario will not happen,” said Wich. “We would like to see appropriate environmental impact assessments conducted for all developmental planning that concerns forests in the orangutan range, so that disruption to their habitat may be avoided or reduced to a minimum.”
The Sumatran orangutan is the rarer of the two existing orangutan species, with its relative, the Bornean orangutan classified as “threatened” as there are only 54,500 of its kind remaining. Both apes share approximately 97 percent of their DNA with modern humans, which means Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are as closely related to humans as chimpanzees are.