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Jakarta Post

Hydro project versus rare orangutan

  • Erik Meijaard and Serge Wich

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PREMIUM
Brunei/London   /   Sat, July 20, 2019   /  11:49 am
Hydro project versus rare orangutan Rare sighting: Twin babies of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan species hang onto their mother in a tree in Batang Toru forest, North Sumatra. According to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP), twin births generally happen in captivity and rarely in the wild. (Courtesy of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program/File)

In a recent article, the government was commended on its effective efforts to protect the Tapanuli orangutans, but digging a little deeper indicates the situation might not be as rosy as suggested. For the past few years, PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE) has been looking for political, financial and popular support to push through its hydroelectric dam project in the Batang Toru area in North Sumatra. Hydroelectricity has a nice ring to it. It can produce clean energy, which in a world increasingly affected by climate change and air pollution is important. Unfortunately, the dam is to be built in an area that happens to be the only place on Earth where the Tapanuli orangutan lives. This species of orangutan was only described in 2017. Some 767 animals are left, which makes it the Earth’s rarest great ape species, rarer than, for example, the mountain gorilla. Surely if...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.