Get to know the orangutan species in Indonesia
Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya stressed the importance of forests as invaluable assets that support the lives of all creatures. “Our forest and all that it contains is an invaluable asset, not only to us in Indonesia, but also to all mankind. Quality forests support the lives of all living things, including humans, animals and plants, ”Nurbaya noted in a statement in 2017 to mark World Orangutan Day, celebrated every August 19.
The orangutan is one of the primate species endemic to Indonesia, known for its intelligence. This animal is the only primate of the great ape species in Asia.
Outside of Indonesia, chimpanzees are considered the smartest creatures in the world after humans.
The chimpanzee, often abbreviated as “chimpanzee”, is the common name of the two surviving monkey species of the genus Pan. The Congo River was built as the limit of the natural habitat of these two species: the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) in West and Central Africa as well as the Bonobos (Pan paniscus) in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
So far, people in Indonesia only know about two species of orangutans: the orangutan on the island of Kalimantan or Borneo and the other on the island of Sumatra.
Scientifically, scientists agree to classify the orangutan that lives in Kalimantan as Pygmy pongo while they call the orangutan that lives in Sumatra as Pongo abelii.
Based on government website https://indonesia.go.id, Kalimantan has three subspecies of orangutans: Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus the one found in the northern part of the Kapuas River in the northeast of the Sarawak region of Malaysia, Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii found in the south of the Kapuas River west of the Barito River, and Pongo pygmaeus morio found in abundance in the Sabah region of southern Malaysia reaching the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan.
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In Kalimantan, orangutans can be found in almost all lowland forests except South Kalimantan, Brunei Darussalam, and few of them are also found in the Sabah and Sarawak regions of Malaysia. .
Meanwhile, in Sumatra, orangutans only occupy the northern part of the island, from Timang Gajah in central Aceh to the Sitinjak region in southern Tapanuli.
In its development, it turns out that Indonesia has another species of orangutan, known as the “Tapanuli orangutan” (Pongo tapanuliensis).
Although their habitat is the island of Sumatra, the Tapanuli orangutan species is different.
By morphology and behavior, the Tapanuli orangutan has a smoother skull and jaw than the Sumatran and Kalimantan orangutans. It also has thicker, curly fur.
The male Tapanuli Orangutan has a prominent mustache and beard with flat cheek pads covered with thin blond hair.
Based on their habitat, this new orangutan species can only be found in the Batang Toru ecosystem spanning three districts: North Tapanuli, Central Tapanuli, and South Tapanuli.
On the indonesia.go.id page, it is stated that the discovery of these three orangutan species began with research on the Sumatran orangutan population, following a collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Forestry , the Indonesian Institute of Science, the Bogor Institute of Agriculture, the National University, and the Foundation for the Sustainable Ecosystems and Orangutan Conservation Program of Sumatra, which has been underway since 1997.
Previously, the orangutans of the Tapanuli Forest were considered the southernmost orangutan population of the Sumatran orangutan, including the Pongo abelii.
Refer to the source sumatranorangutan.org, genetic differences are the number one reason to distinguish the Tapanuli orangutan from the orangutan Pongo abelii species.
Historically, it is said that the genetic separation of the Sumatran orangutan occurred around 3.38 million years ago, while the separation of the Bornean orangutan occurred there. about 670,000 years ago.
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Research also indicates that the Tapanuli orangutan is actually the ancestor of the great ape.
The ministry’s director general of natural resources and ecosystem conservation, Wiratno, stressed optimism in all efforts for the conservation of wildlife, including for orangutans.
This message was delivered while attending the release of five orangutans at Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park in Kalimantan to coincide with World Orangutan Day on August 19, 2021.
“The orangutan is one of the ‘flagship species’ which continues to be a priority for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry through various conservation efforts, so that its existence in the wild is maintained and developed. reproduce well, ”Wiratno noted.
He also stressed the importance of a common awareness that conservation efforts cannot be done alone. Therefore, cooperation between relevant parties, such as local governments, other ministries and institutions, universities, local communities, businessmen, community institutions and the media is very important.
The orangutan is one of the endemic species of Indonesia, which constitutes an important part of the biological richness of Indonesia. Currently, there are three known species of orangutans: the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Bornean orangutan (Pygmy pongo), and the Tapanuli orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis).
The IUCN Red List classifies the three species as “critically endangered” in 2017, and they are included in the “protected” category by the regulation of the Ministry of Environment and Forests No. 106 / Menlhk / 2018 on protected plants and animals.
Thus, the commemoration of World Orangutan Day is an opportunity to invite the public to be attentive to the protection of the habitats and the existence of orangutans to avoid the extinction of these species.
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