Damming the Tapanuli Apes to Death

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Last year, the world was amazed by the news that a new species of orangutan - the Tapanuli orangutan - was found in Batang Toru, Sumatra. Unfortunately, researchers believe that only fewer than 800 of these animals are surviving in a tiny tract of forest. Listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, the Tapanuli Orangutans are now facing a more dangerous threat in the form of the Chinese-funded Batang Toru hydropower project, which would slice their tiny habitat in half, and pretty much ensure their extinction. Leading scientists have slammed plans of this development, which was refused support by other major funders such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, which judged the ape’s habitat far too sensitive environmentally to sustain further development. We find out more from Distinguished Professor William Laurance, the Director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at the James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. He is also a member of ALERT—the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers & Thinkers

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