General, Research, Technology

The rarest and largest monkeys may soon disappear. People are to blame again

The rarest monkeys in the world at the momentcan be considered orangutans living in the Indonesian forest of Batang Toru. They were first discovered in 1997, but at that time scientists did not yet realize that they were dealing with a completely new species of monkeys. Only in 2017, after genetic analysis, it was found that these orangutans belong to a completely new species for science - tapanuli (Pongo tapanuliensis). Unlike other species, these creatures have more curly hair, a slightly altered head shape and unusual taste preferences. Once upon a time there were a lot of these monkeys, but later they were driven by hunters into the forests of Batang-Toru and today there are only about 800 of them. Very soon they can completely die out and, of course, people again are to blame for this.

Orangutan tapanuli

At the very beginning, it should be noted that usuallyorangutans live only on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Accordingly, there are Kalimantan and Sumatran orangutans. Tapanuli orangutans live on the island of Sumatra, but belong to a completely different species.

The rarest monkeys in the world

In general, there are few monkeys of the species Pongo tapanuliensishow they differ from ordinary orangutans. The growth of large males can reach 1.5 meters, and the body weight is equal to 100 kilograms. These monkeys have a very unusual body structure: their legs are very short, but their arms are long and muscular. The head of the orangutans is large, with a wide face - the males have growths of fat, mustache and beard. Orangutans spend most of their lives in trees. Their lifespan reaches 40 years, but in captivity, under the supervision of people, they can live longer.

Left to right: Kalimantai orangutan, Sumatran orangutan, Pongo tapanuliensis

Tapanuli orangutans differ from the rest morecurly hair, smaller head and flat face. Not only males, but also females have a beard, and it is difficult not to notice it. In terms of body size and lifestyle, they are identical to other orangutans, but their taste preferences are sometimes very strange. While most orangutans feed on the leaves of trees, the monkeys from Batang Toru can even eat caterpillars.

See also: How do the smartest monkeys in the world communicate?

Extinction of monkeys

Rare monkeys occupy only 3% of the islandSumatra. At the moment, there are only 800 of them, so they are included in the list of animals on the verge of complete extinction. According to the author of the scientific work, Erik Meijaard, tapanuli orangutans may become the first large primates to disappear due to the fault of modern humans. According to LiveScience, the monkeys were herded into the forests of Batang Toru by hunters. To have a chance of survival, they must have access to different habitats, but they do not have such an opportunity.

The location of the Batang Toru forests on the island of Sumatra

At the moment, the biggest threat tothe orangutans are represented by a hydroelectric power station under construction on the Batang-Toru River. The facility will cover an area of ​​122 hectares and, according to conservationists, will prevent tapanuli orangutans from breeding. The construction of the power plant is being carried out by PT North Sumatera Hydro Energy, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, work has so far been stopped. In addition, the project has ceased to receive funding from Chinese investors, so construction may be suspended for several years.

The same hydroelectric power plant that could make orangutans disappear

Conservationists can use this timein order to save the tapanuli population. However, it is not clear yet how to do it. It is possible to somehow stop the construction of the hydroelectric power station completely, but it is not a fact that someone will be able to do it. There is also an option to take all the tapanuli monkeys to a safe and well-protected area. Only now it is not clear how they will react to it. Orangutans are already accustomed to the conditions of Batang Toru and moving to another place can cause them severe stress.

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In general, with due diligence, people are very evencan save animals from extinction. Relatively recently, I even wrote about what types of living beings we managed to save. For example, in 1975, there were only 13 parrots from Puerto Rico. But then, thanks to the work of nature conservationists, they were saved. You can read about other animals saved from extinction in this article.