Newly discovered Orangutan species requires urgent habitat protection

Remaining habitat for P. tapanuliensis is threatened by forest fragmentation, habitat degradation, and conversion that are slated to continue. These are critical factors for the survival of large primates, and particularly Sumatran orangutans, including P. tapanuliensis. Presently, individuals of this species are divided among three forest fragments in the Batang Toru region of Sumatra. Based on population-viability simulations, subpopulations of Sumatran orangutans must number >200 individuals to remain viable in the medium term (100 years), and >500 individuals to ensure long-term stability. Thus, further habitat fragmentation, degradation, or conversion would severely undermine the survival of P. tapanuliensis.

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