gorgeous rainforest in Sumatra

Andrew Walmsley

Batang Toru megadam threatens Tapanuli orangutan with extinction


The core habitat of the rarest great ape species in the world is under threat.

SOS are working to support the cancellation of the dam and the protection of the entire Batang Toru ecosystem.

In late 2017, the announcement of a new orangutan species — the Tapanuli orangutan — made headlines around the world. Yet, already, Tapanuli orangutans face extinction, threatened by the imminent construction of a major new hydroelectric dam.

Tapanuli orangutan

Andrew Walmsley

Slicing through the very heart of their remaining forest habitat, in a valley with the highest densities of orangutans, the dam and its associated infrastructure pose a real and immediate threat to the species’ continued survival.

Urgent action must be taken now to halt construction of this potentially devastating new facility and ensure the most recently discovered great ape is not driven to extinction.

SOS and our partners are calling on the companies, government and investors involved in the project to take immediate preventative action. In doing so, they can demonstrate their commitment to corporate responsibility, investor accountability, and environmentally-responsible and socially-responsible land-use planning.

In a new report, Damming Evidence, we reveal the companies and investors behind the dam, the risks and impacts to wildlife and communities, breaches of company policies, government guidelines and international commitments, and lay out a solution pathway:

  1. Immediately halt all infrastructure, exploratory and engineering activities and restore already damaged sites

PT NSHE and Sinohydro should immediately halt all operations, and remove already built infrastructure, including roads and bridges, which is currently giving access to poaching, illegal logging and land speculation. Given the high densities of orangutans at the project site, any further disturbance will have severe consequences for the Tapanuli orangutan.

  1. Reassess environmental and social impacts

Reputable independent consultants should immediately conduct a new environmental impact assessment . Given the presence of endangered species and the impacts on downstream communities, this will undoubtedly show that Batang Toru is not a suitable location for a hydroelectric dam.

  1. Grant legally protected status to the entire Batang Toru forest complex

To ensure the long-term survival of the Tapanuli orangutan, the Indonesian government must give legal protection to the whole Batang Toru forest . This will prevent similar threats emerging in future.

Download the report: Damming Evidence

Batang Toru megadam

Zac Mills

An adult sumatran orangutan

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