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Story Publication logo August 7, 2022

The Future of Mentawai's Endemic Primates on Sipora Island is at Risk (bahasa Indonesia)

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An excavator machine is being driven around a forest.
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The threats to four endemic primates and the biodiversity of Sipora Island

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This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Mentawai Kita. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.


SIPORA, Indonesia—At the top of a tumung tree, the black shadow of a bilou hides behind a thicket of leaves. Its long arms hug the branches. Its black eyes watch us below, on the red, clay road of the newly cleared forest.

The pygmy siamang, one of the endemic primates of the Mentawai Islands, is slender with shiny black fur.

Bilou is renowned for the sonority of his screech every morning. The high, melodious screech has been dubbed the most beautiful rhythm emitted by a mammal.


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Bilou is also considered the most primitive type of ungko because of its simple screech that is thought to resemble the screech of the ungko's ancestors. But that morning, the bilou did not make a sound.


Simakobu (Simias concolor). Image by Mateus Sakaliou/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Heavy equipment stacks felled logs at the primate site. Image by Rus Akbar/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Wood logs being loaded onto a ship at Berkat beach. Image by Rus Akbar/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Image by Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Mentawai owl (Otus mentawi). Image by Mateus Sakaliou/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Flying squirrel. Image by Mateus Sakaliou/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

Joja pagai (Presbytis potenziani). Image by Mateus Sakaliou/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

(From left) Solomon and Mateus Sakaliou monitor the sound of Simakobu. Image by Rus Akbar/Mentawaikita.com. Indonesia, 2022.

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