Batangtoru Power Plant Denies Harm against Tapanuli Orangutans

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  • A Tapanuli orangutan in Batang Toru Ecosystem in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Scientists are claiming an isolated and tiny population of orangutans on the Indonesian island of Sumatra with frizzier hair and smaller heads are a new species of great ape. It's believed that there are no more than 800 of the primates that researchers named Pongo tapanuliensis, making it the most endangered great ape species. James Askew/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme via AP

    A Tapanuli orangutan in Batang Toru Ecosystem in Tapanuli, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Scientists are claiming an isolated and tiny population of orangutans on the Indonesian island of Sumatra with frizzier hair and smaller heads are a new species of great ape. It's believed that there are no more than 800 of the primates that researchers named Pongo tapanuliensis, making it the most endangered great ape species. James Askew/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme via AP

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaFollowing a report published by Tempo on Tapanuli orangutans entitled ‘Tapanuli Orangutan Gives Birth to Twins’, the Batangtoru hydro power plant (PLTA) project management officially denounced allegations suggesting that it had tampered with the habitats of local orangutans. 

    The power plant company maintained that its hydro power plant was located at a concession area called the APL in South Tapanuli, instead of within the primary forest area. The company explained that the project affected a 650-hectare of land that consists of a temporary access road, quarry, camp, dam, powerhouse, switchyard, high voltage electrical line, and network inspection. 

    “Most of the space used by the company is temporary and will be returned near to its original condition,” said Idham Bachtiar Setiadi, North Sumatera Hydro Energy public relation manager in the right of reply letter that Tempo received on Wednesday, July 18.

    Read: Tapanuli Orangutan Gives Birth to Twins

    In the previous article on the Tapanuli orangutan that was published on Wednesday, July 11, the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) stated that the orangutans were threatened by the construction of a Chinese-funded hydroelectric power plant. 

    “We must stop destroying more orangutan habitat and reconnect this forest as quickly as possible. This twin baby is the hope that this species can be saved if we take quick action to save it,” said SOCP Director Ian Singleton.

    Furthermore, according to Idham, the extent of the dam is 90 hectares consisting of 24 hectares of an inundation in the existing river body and 66 hectares of an expanded inundation located in a steep hill area. 

    “It is not true that the Batangtoru hydro plant project is taking 1,400 hectares of land, let alone in the primary forest area,” Idham defended. 

    Read: Orangutan Smokes Cigarette; Bandung Zoo Tracks Down Perpetrator

    Idham asserted that the company’s policy had always prioritized the sustainability of the ecosystem within and outside the vicinity of the Batangtoru hydro power plant that takes 0.46 percent of Batangtoru’s 141,749 hectares of forest space. 

    The Batangtoru hydro power plant is part of the nationally prioritized programs to provide 35,000 megawatts worth of electricity for the national energy supply. 

    MOH KHORY ALFARIZI


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