More orangutans than we thought.

BBC has hope for the wild men of the woods. A new population study has found more than double the number of Sumatran orangutans as expected:

The latest estimate puts the population at about 14,600 – more than twice the previous figure, based on a survey of nests where the apes sleep.

Ecologists say the rise is not due to population growth but because some apes were missed in past surveys.

The species remains at serious threat from poaching and loss of forests, they report in Science Advances.

Orangutans are the world’s largest tree-climbing mammal – and Asia’s only great ape.
They were once found across South East Asia, but today are confined to two islands, Borneo and Sumatra.

It is very important that these findings are not interpreted as suggesting that numbers have increased, nor that their range has expanded, the group reports.

“The known current range is now 17,797 sq km (6,871 sq miles), roughly 2.56 times larger,” said a team led by Serge Wich, professor of primate biology at Liverpool John Moores University.

“Since 2004, Sumatran orangutan numbers have undoubtedly declined, and they continue to do so at an alarming rate because of ongoing deforestation and poaching/persecution,” they wrote….