Community of orangutans discovered

CONSERVATIONISTS have discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote, mountainous corner of Indonesia — perhaps as many as 2,000 — giving a rare boost to one of the world’s most endangered great apes.

A team surveying forests nestled between jagged, limestone cliffs on the eastern edge of Borneo island counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a “substantial” number of the animals, said Erik Meijaard, a senior ecologist at the US-based The Nature Conservancy.

“We can’t say for sure how many,” he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate “several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even”.

The team also encountered an adult male, which angrily threw branches as they tried to take photos, and a mother and child.

There are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90% of them in Indonesia and the rest in Malaysia.

Birute Mary Galdikas said most of the populations are small and scattered, making them vulnerable to extinction.

“So yes, finding a population that science did not know about is significant, especially one of this size,” she said.

Some experts say at the current rate of habitat destruction, the animals could be wiped out within the next two decades.


Lifestyle

Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner