Sumatran Orangutan Numbers Double!

Sumatran Orangutan Numbers Double!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 11th Apr 2016

Last week we were able to bring you some amazing news about tiger populations that are on the rise, and this week we can do something similar for the Sumatran orangutan!

Recently, scientists from John Moores University in the UK searched new areas of forest on the island of Sumatra. They surveyed regions which are 1,500m above sea level as previous surveys assumed that none of the Great Apes lived above 900m. They also looked at areas that had been logged and were shocked to find orangutans were slowly beginning to repopulate them!

Sumatran Orangutan

Serge Wich, leader of the survey, said about the results: “The chance that there will be zero [Sumatran orangutans] in the near future is certainly less now”, but Mr Wich was quick to also add that this does not mean that the orangutans population was growing, rather that the survey had simply looked at areas in which is what previously thought that no orangutans lived.

The team now estimates that there are 14,600 orangutans living in the wild compared to the 6,600 they estimated back in 2008. They also concluded that previous estimates drastically underestimated the animals range, and it is actually 2.56 times as big as previously thought.

This is some fantastic news to wake up to on a Monday morning but everyone needs to remember that the job is nowhere near finished. The Sumatran orangutans have more of a foothold than we thought, but without the support and help of humans they will struggle to keep this going. You can see how you can help the Sumatran orangutan’s cousin the Bornean orangutan here!


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