Tapanuli Orangutans

Rarest Great Ape On Earth


“In 2014 photographer/filmmaker Liam Lynch travelled to a remote rainforest in the Sumatran jungle. The biodiversity hotspot, known as the Batang Toru forest, homes an ecosystem rarely ventured upon by humankind.  Liam’s mission was to document the recently declared and rarest great ape species on the planet – the Tapanuli orangutan. But now the irreplaceable intact forests of this region along with unique species that inhabit it now face the very real risk of disappearing before our eyes.”






In 2014 Liam was invited to join a group of researchers in a remote pocket of rainforest on the island of Sumatra. The largely unexplored Batang Toru ecosystem of approximately 142,000 square hectares. This rainforest is home to hundreds of unique species including critically endangered sumatran Tigers, hornbills and the world’s most trafficked animal the pangolin. But the species these researchers were most interested in were the orang-utans that inhabited this region. And for good reason.. Tapanuli orangutans are the rarest great ape on earth and they number less than 800. To put this in perspective, recent surveys estimate that there are about 12,000 sumatran orangutang in the wild and they are considered critically endangered so where does that leave the Tapanuli at less than 800 individuals?

“ In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught .” – Baba Dioum