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Tapanuli – A New Orangutan Species

I would like to share an exciting story with you. Many of you might have seen Jami’s posts on social media about her campaign against palm oil and for the protection of orangutans that are highly threatened by the ongoing destruction of their rainforest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Two years ago Jami spent some time in the orangutan rehabilitation center near Medan on Sumatra where she met Dr. Ian Singleton who has dedicated his life to save the orangutans on Sumatra and to protect their habitat that is under serious threat by palm oil plantation owners. Jami also visited Gunung Leuser National Park nearby and brought home some amazing images of Sumatra orangutans (Pongo abelii) living in the wild.
A close-up front-view portrait of a critically endangered dominant wild male Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) with developed cheek flanges resting in the cool shade of the forest, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia
Sumatran orangutans Pongo abelii differ in such from the Borneo orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) as they tend to be lighter, rusty red or cinnamon-colored. They also have a narrower face and longer beard than the Bornean species. Bornean orangutans are slightly darker in color and the males have wider cheek pads than their Sumatran relatives.
A close-up of a dominant male orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) face with large flanges,Borneo, Indonesia
Now comes the exciting news: Only six months ago a new orangutan species has been discovered on Sumatra – the Tapanuli orangutan. It is mostly similar to the Bornean orangutan however the Tapanuli orangutans have flattened faces, smaller head sizes, as well as frizzier hair on their bodies.
Recently Jami received an invitation from the scientists who are studying the new species to document the Tapanuli orangutan in its natural environment. What a great honor! Jami is very excited and started packing to get ready for her adventure.
The discovery of the new orangutan species needs to further help raising world wide awareness of the destruction of rain forests caused by the constantly and often illegally expanding palm oil plantations.

We will keep you posted during Jami’s jungle expedition that will start in a few days.
Photographer Jami Tarris holding up umbrella during tropical rain storm, Tanjung Puting National Park, East Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia, endangered species, threatened through loss of habitat

Theo Allofs

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