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World's rarest orangutans 'under threat' from dam project

A billion-dollar hydropower dam will be built in the great ape's rainforest habitat
The Tapanuli orangutan is considered the most endangered great ape in the world. A mere 800 of them are believed to remain in the wild. But their survival could be at risk.

A billion-dollar hydropower dam, scheduled for completion in 2022, will be constructed in the heart of their home in the Indonesian rainforest. An environmental group launched a legal challenge to stop the dam being built, but that was rejected by a local court.

Professor Serge Wich is a primatologist who was instrumental in discovering the new species in November 2017. He's been working in Sumatra since the early 1990s, and was an expert witness at the court hearing. 

He shared his recordings of the sounds of the jungle and told the BBC the dam would "put the orangutans on a firm path to extinction".

(Image: Pongo tapanuliensis. Credit: Gabriella Fredriksson)