The most endangered orangutans in the world can be condemned to extinction after the Indonesian court approved the project of the controversial dam in the Batang Tor Forest in the north of the island of Sumatra. This area is home to the orangutans of Tapanulian, who were only identified as a separate species in 2017.
In the wild, there are only 800 left, and they all live in this ecosystem, informed the BBC News.
The billions of dollars hydroelectric power station is to be completed in 2022 right in the heart of the rainforests of the Batang Tor, which is also home to Gibbons of the darkest and Sumatran tigers, in addition to the orangutans.
The power station is to supply clean energy to the province of North Sumatra, and according to the Jakarta Post, the Chinese state company Sinohydro builds it. Several international banks, including the BOC Chinese bank, are involved in funding.
Nature conservation group The Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI) brought an auction earlier this year against the agreement of the province of North Sumatra with the construction of the dam. But the Medan administrative court now dismissed the action, opening the way for the project to be implemented. Walhi wants to appeal against the verdict, according to which the ecological impact is in line with existing regulations.
According to British professor Serge Wich, an expert in protecting the primates of Liverpool’s John Moores University, the court’s decision is disappointing. The ecological impact assessment of the project, which was presented in the dispute, is “undoubtedly inadequate”.
Wich was one of the scientists who confirmed the existence of the orangutan Tapanulian in 2017. According to his words, the dam divides the already very small population of these creatures. “In the place where the dam wants to build, the occurrence of this species is the thickest, so it is the worst space in the forest that they could choose,” he said.