A team of conservationists have uncovered a hidden population of around 200 of the world’s rarest Bornean orangutans in Malaysian Borneo.
The sub-species Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus is listed as the most severely threatened orangutan worldwide with a total of between 3,000-4,500 animals, of which 2,000 live in the Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Sarawak.
The orangutans were found in an area of about 14,000 hectares (140 sq km) and the Sarawak government has pledged protection.
Melvin Gumal, Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, Malaysia Program, said: “It is indeed wonderful to hear the Government’s initiative towards protecting these orangutan and their habitat especially when preliminary scientific data indicates the existence of a globally significant population.”
The illuminating field surveys were conducted in February by staff from the Sarawak Forest Department, assisted by Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Wildlife Conservation Society and Borneo Adventure.
A total of 995 nests were found in the area. Fresh nests were found in all transects as well as in the remote areas covered by the aerial surveys indicating recent use of the area by these rare orangutans.
(Source: Wildlife Conservation Society)