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World’s Rarest Orangutan under Threat after Indonesian Environmentalists Lose Battle against Chinese-Backed Dam

tapanuli orangutan

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment, also known by its Indonesian acronym, WALHI, has lost a court case to a dam project backed by the Chinese. The 510-megawatt hydro dam is constructed by the state-owned Sinohydro of China. Environmentalists claimed that the dam is set to destroy the habitat of the most critically endangered orangutan species.

According to the state administrative court in Medan, North Sumatra, construction around the site could be resumed, despite the continuous evidence of its environmental hazards provided by critics. Environmental experts have mentioned that the dam would flood and eventually, alter the habitat of the rare orangutan species.

The endangered primate, Pongo Tapanuliensis or Tapanuli Orangutan, was discovered by scientists in November last year. Its population is estimated to be at around 800, making the rare primate exceptionally prone to rapid extinction. The Tapanuli Orangutan was found to have frizzier hair and distinctively longer calls compared to other orangutan species.

WALHI aims to appeal the court’s decision. “We will take all available legal channels,” said Dana Prima Tarigan, the group’s executive director for North Sumatra.

The Tapanuli Orangutan

Source: The Guardian
Image: Rainforest Rescue

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