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Large population of rare black orangutans found in Borneo

A large population of orangutans has been documented by conservationists conducting a survey in a remote part of Indonesia Borneo.

A team of researchers led by Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), counted 219 orangutan nests, suggesting a population of 1000 or more of the critically endangered species of red ape in the heart of a 2-million-acre forest area in Sangkulirang limestone mountains in East Kalimantan Province. The newly discovered population is a rare subspecies known as the black Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio). Overall 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans survive in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, but these are increasingly threatened by habitat loss from logging, fires, and expansion of industrial tree plantations and oil palm estates.

TNC says it will work with local governments to protect critical orangutan habitat in the region. The NGO is currently developing a forest carbon conservation project in Kalimantan.

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