Forrest Corridor Could Save Endangered Species From Decline
Sumatran orangutans are in trouble: Only about 6,600 of the animals are left, scattered throughout the northern tip of the Indonesian island where they once flourished. A new genetic study of the animals has found that deforestation on Sumatra has isolated different groups of the primates, which could lead to inbreeding and further decline. But the research also identified a critical corridor of forested hills that orangutans still travel though, which, if protected, could help the species rebound.
The investigators took DNA from wild orangutan’s hair and fecal samples, as well as blood samples from orangutans from known areas that were kept as pets before being confiscated by authorities. Their study, published recently in the Journal of Heredity, found that there was recent genetic exchange between several of the groups by breeding males.