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OUR RESEARCH A Tapanuli-orangutan in his natural habitat in the Batang Toru ecosystem Full view


In the past weeks, there were two papers published in which our orangutan conservation programme took part in.One of the papers describes the Tapanuli-orangutan and his threats in detail. The other carefully examines implanted radio telemetry.

The Tapanuli-orangutan was only scientifically described in November 2017. Overnight, this species was classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNC) as the most endangered great ape in the world. New findings and numbers concerning the species and its habitat, the Batang Toru ecosystem, were now published. Our co-workers, who stand up for the protection of this species and ecosystem, collected the data for this study. According to the study, there are (only) 767 Tapanuli-orangutans left in an area of 1023 km2. Those remaining orangutans appear in three different areas: In the west block, east block and the Sibual‐buali Reserve. The Reserve and the west block are connected. The study makes the biggest threats of the animals a subject of discussion as well: forest loss, poaching and the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the middle of the area. The question needs to be asked: What can we do for the conservation and protection of the Tapanuli-orangutan and its habitat? The study also gives the answer: The construction of the dam needs to be stopped, the whole area must be protected and effective corridors between the two blocks have to be built.

The second study treated the issue of the “implanted radio telemetry” on reintroduced animals (orangutans, gorillas, gibbons). The SOCP shares its experiences with the head of the study. This means that our findings flew into the results, which say that the implanted radio telemetry can make a progress in finding and therefore observing of reintroduced animals. The behavioural studies are easier to execute. The life span of the battery amounts to approximately 30 months and due to them, the monitoring-co-workers can locate the animals from a distance of about 250 –350 meters with the help of the signal. It is obvious that this is a simplification for the daily work. But there is still a potential for optimisation of this devices. Our experience coincides with the findings of the study. It says that the available transmitters are still too big and become brittle over time, which can be very dangerous for the animals. For some time now, the SOCP has not used the implants due to this high risk. The advantages mentioned above do not overweight the risks, which are connected with the implantation of the available transmitters, in our opinion. The SOCP now has been working on a new solutions for years and will use them as soon as they are available and responsible.

> Study about the implanted radio telemetry
> Study about the Tapanuli-orangutans