Report Reveals 71,820 Orangutans Left in the Islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan

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Photo: Kosasih

Jakarta (Greeners) – At least 71,820 orangutans left in the islands of Sumatra and Borneo (of which comprises of Kalimantan, Sabah and Serawak in a total of 17,460,600 hectares, based on a recent Population and Habitat Viability Analysis Orangutan 2016 or PHVA, released in Jakarta on Tuesday (22/8).

The numbers were spread to 52 meta-population and only 38 percent is predicted to be viable within the next 100-500 years.

Head of the PHVA team and researcher of Indonesian Orangutan Forum, Suci Utami Atmoko, said that research conducted on Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) population and distribution research in 2004, the numbers were growing and more detailed. From the predicted 6,667 orangutans in a total of 703,100 hectares with altitude below 800 meters above sea level, current population is predicted for 14,470 orangutans in 2,155,692 hectares.

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Currently, Sumatran orangutan population can be found in a habitat up to 1,500 meters above sea level altitude spread in 10 meta-population and only two population will be sustainable in the next 100-500 years, Jantho Southeast Aceh and Bukit Tigapuluh in Jambi.

“Nevertheless, the facts do not indicate any increase on population. Because, from the population density, it is declining from 0.95 to 0.67 orangutans/square kilometers,” said Atmoko.

Orangutan Conservation Status Changed

PHVA analysis study conducted by organizations, including Forina, Orangutan Foundation-United Kingdom, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) SSC Primate Specialist Group, IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, and other NGOs and conservationists for orangutan.

Though growing in more extended and detailed areas, but not in terms of population estimation.

Currently, Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is predicted to have 57,350 orangutans in a habitat covers 16,013,600 hectares spread out in 42 population bags, with 18 of the total population will be sustainable in the next 100-500 years.

It is a lot more than ten years go with 54,817 orangutans on a habitat of 8,195,000 hectares in limited areas. If compared with population density, there’s a decline from 0.45-0.76 to 0.13-0.47 orangutans/square meters.

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In addition, Bornean orangutan population connecting Indonesia and Malaysia, which is Pongo pygmaeus, in meta-population of Betung Kerihun National Park and Batang Ai-Lankak Entimau, Klingkang Range-North Sintang National Park and Bungoh National Park and Penrisen Protected Forest.

Hence, it would need cooperation in orangutan conservation and its habitat between Indonesia and Malaysia to protect the population and connected habitat.

“Although Kalimantan orangutan population declining but it will not happen rapidly which could change the status of Kalimantan orangutan in the IUCN Red List,” said Atmoko. “At least, 43 percent of meta-population with good viability, compare to Sumatran orangutan which only 20 percent. So, declining conservation status of Kalimantan orangutan by IUCN primate experts in 2016 from endangered to critical endangered is not in accordance with the facts,” said Steering Committee of PHVA, Jito Sugardjito.

Director general of Natural Resources Conservation and Ecosystem, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Wiratno, said that the result of PHVA will be turned into main guidance in the making of 2017-2027 Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan to replace the 2007-2017 document which will end this December.

“With better and completed data, the planning will come up with real, measured, and applicable strategy,” said Sugardjito.

Reports by Danny Kosasih