The Indonesian island of Sumatra is the sixth largest island in the world. Sadly it has lost half its rainforest in the past 35 years, erased by the chainsaw to make way for palm oil and coffee plantations. Despite this, in the west of the island there are still vast tracts of forest standing, among them Kerinci Seblat National Park which covers 13,791 square kilometres – about the size of Montenegro.
It is from these forests that reports of a species of ape that walks upright and is unknown to science have been emerging for almost 100 years.
The orang pendek, "short man" in Malay, is said to be 4-5 feet tall but powerfully built with broad shoulders and long muscular arms. Sightings suggest it walks upright like a human, its body is covered with black or honey-coloured hair, and it may have a long mane of hair from its head down its back. It appears to live on the forest floor, unlike the arboreal Sumatran orang-utan which is confined to the north of the island.
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