[monkeywire] New ape population found

gregory nahas lettherebemonkeys at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 26 12:26:47 EST 2002


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2510803.stm

New ape population found

A secret population of orang-utans has been discovered
in the forests of the island of Borneo. 
Conservationists believe about 2,000 rare apes are
living out of sight in a remote lowland region of East
Kalimantan. 

The find, if confirmed, will raise the number of known
orang-utans in the world by about 10%. 

The discovery of a large, biologically viable,
previously unsurveyed orang-utan population in East
Kalimantan is very significant 
 
Dr Birute Galdikas, Orang-utan Foundation
International  
It offers hope of saving the endangered primate from
extinction in the wild. 

The claim, by researchers from the US-based
conservation group Nature Conservancy, is based on
signs of nests made by the apes. 

A survey of forest terrain suggests between 1,000 and
2,500 orang-utans are living in the area unnoticed,
until now. 

"This group could be one of the three largest
populations in the world," said Linda Engstrom on the
group's website. 

Engstrom, and colleague Bhayu Pamungk, spent four
months searching dense areas of forest with teams of
local villagers they had trained. 

Logging threat 

Orang-utans, like gorillas and chimpanzees, are often
described as the closest relatives of humans. 

They are in grave danger of extinction, because their
habitat is under threat from illegal logging, forest
fires and gold mining. 

 
Many apes were orphaned in the forest fires of 1997
and 1998
 
Wild orang-utans exist only on two south-east Asian
islands, Borneo and Sumatra. 

An estimated 9,000 orang-utans survive in northern
Sumatra, mainly near one national park, while some
10,000 to 15,000 orang-utans remain in Borneo. 

Primate experts have predicted that the apes will be
found only in zoos by the year 2020 unless immediate
steps are taken to protect them. 

According to a report by the United Nations
Environment Programme (Unep), the annual 5% loss of
habitat means there will be virtually no intact forest
left for them by 2030. 

The orang-utan  
The second largest of the great apes 
Unlike other apes, they tend to live alone, in pairs
or in small family groups 
Orang-utans spend their lives among the trees and are
the largest tree-living mammals  
London-based Orang-utan Foundation International says
there has been a dramatic decline in wild orang-utan
populations throughout the tropical rainforests of
Borneo and Sumatra. 

"The discovery of a large, biologically viable,
previously unsurveyed orang-utan population in East
Kalimantan is very significant," said scientist and
conservationist Dr Birute Galdikas, the president of
the foundation. 

"This find extends the orang-utan's known range and
gives us hope that we can save orang-utan populations
from extinction in the wild." 



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