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Jakarta Post

Batang Toru people to protect Tapanuli orangutans through local wisdom

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

South Tapanuli, North Sumatra   /   Sat, May 4, 2019   /  02:35 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
In the wild: A Tapanuli orangutan and her twin babies were spotted in May in the Batang Toru forest in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, by members of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP). The newly identified orangutan species, 'Pongo tapanuliensis', is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) list of critically endangered species. (Courtesy of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program/File)

People living around the Batang Toru ecosystem in South Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra, have reiterated their commitment to protecting the endangered Tapanuli orangutan using local wisdom. People in the area, according to Sipirok people empowerment activist Koesnadi Wirasaputera, are committed to protecting nature, including the rare Tapanuli orangutans. The villages of Haonatas, Tanjung Rompa, Bonan Dolok and Siranap in Batang Toru, he added, believed that disturbing orangutans would lead to danger in their villages. “They consider orangutans to be sacred animals,” Koesnadi told The Jakarta Post recently. According to local myth, orangutans were members of their “family” that had to be protected, with whom they must share the forest. The belief also accounted for why locals had not considered orangutans to be their enemies even though th...