The UK-based Body Shop on Monday (27/11) gave Rp 1.8 billion, or $126,000, to non-profit environmental agency Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari to save the population of a newly found species of orangutan in North Sumatra. (Photo courtesy of Information Ministry's twitter)

The Body Shop Donates to Save Dwindling Population of Tapanuli Orangutans

BY :DAMES ALEXANDER SINAGA

NOVEMBER 30, 2017

Jakarta. The UK-based Body Shop on Monday (27/11) donated Rp 1.8 billion, or $126,000, to non-profit environmental agency Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari to save the population of a newly found species of orangutan in North Sumatra.

The species, Tapanuli orangutans, or Pongo tapanuliensis, were confirmed by scientists in early November.

The primate is currently under assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be categorized as a critically endangered species.

According to scientists, the Tapanuli orangutans currently number less than 800. Their habitats are fragmented by the Great Sumatran fault, which might lead to inbreeding among isolated groups of the orangutans.

Aryo Widiwardhono, chief executive of The Body Shop Indonesia, said his company has invited its customers to participate in the conservation project by making donations that will be used to finance the construction of a bridge and forest corridors to allow for easier movement of the Tapanuli orangutans.

"The Body Shop Bio-Bridge in Batang Toru forest [North Sumatra] will facilitate the breeding of the Tapanuli orangutans. It is hoped that it will prevent them from extinction,” Aryo said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

Ian Singleton, director of the environmental agency, said the presence of the bridge is essential for the repopulating the orangutans and to conserve their habitats.

Singleton explained that the species population is currently split into two main areas, which are the western and eastern blocs of Batang Toru located near the fault.

"And there is also a small population [of Tapanuli orangutans] which is situated in the Sibual Buali Natural Reserve in the southeast of the western bloc," he added.

Batang Toru forest is an area of approximately 150 thousand hectares, 142 thousand hectares of which is the primary forest.

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