13 Apr 2009

New colony of orangutans found

4:35 pm on 13 April 2009

A new population of orangutans has been found on the island of Borneo. Conservationists say there could be up to 2,000 in a remote colony.

Nature Conservancy team leader Eric Mayard describes the find of the red-haired primates as rare and significant. The team is now working with local groups to try to protect the area.

Much of the orangutan's tropical forest habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia has been cut down for timber extraction and for palm oil plantations.

The BBC reports that about 50,000 orangutans are thought to remain in the wild.