TEMPO.CO, Medan - Two staff of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) based in the monitoring post of Batang Toru forest in Tapanuli, Andayani Oerta G and Ulil Amri Silitonga, found a female Tapanuli orangutan, gave birth to twin orangutans.
“I just started managing the camp a few months ago and was on a regular orangutan search mission. Suddenly we saw the mother of Tapanuli orangutan with two babies together, it was amazing,” said Andayani, in a statement received by Tempo, today, Wednesday, July 11.
They were found only about a kilometer northwest of the post. The twins, Andayani said, looked very similar and about the same size. The difference is, she explained, one of the babies look quite brave while the other one is very shy and always want to be close to its mother.
Andayani and Ulil, first saw her on Sunday, May 20, at 02:30 pm about 15 meters above the tree and at about 03:40 pm, the orangutan mother started moving with babies attached to each side. According to them, it would be interesting to see how the mother of the orangutans gave birth to the twins.
“I saw the orangutan mother doing a great job,” added Andayani who is also a forest scholar.
Head of SOCP Biodiversity Monitoring Unit Matthew Nowak was amazed when he heard the information. Matthew has spent years in the Batang Toru ecosystem, the home of the Tapanuli orangutan named latin Pongo Tapanuliensis that remains.
“I immediately examined the notes for the twin births in orangutans and other great apes, and found only one previous note of Kalimantan wild twin orangutan births, no Sumatran orangutans, let alone the Tapanuli orangutans,” said Matthew.
The twin births indeed occurred in captive animals, but he said, if it happens in the wild, it is very rare for both babies to survive.
The Tapanuli orangutan is the rarest and most endangered great ape in the world, it was only described in November last year. However, he said, the rare thing that is happening now is fragmented and is being threatened by the construction project 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.
International Director of Corporate Responsibility and Campaigns The Body Shop International Christopher Davis reported that the news is incredible. “We are proud to participate in supporting the conservation effort in the forest with this great biodiversity,” he said.
The newly discovered twin orangutans, according to Davis, encouraged The Body Shop to continue raising awareness and support for the Batang Toru forest so that the newly discovered species will breed.
“Our team in Indonesia is working with our local partners and the government to do all we can to make our Bio-Bridges project as successful as possible,” Davis added.
MOH KHORY ALFARIZI