Return to Gallery of Available Paintings

BIOPHILIA II—Tapanuli Orang-utan & Great Flying Lizard

acrylic on illustration board 24” x 18”

In the fall of 2017, the eighth living species of our own family was described. The Tapanuli Orang-utan (Pongo tapanuliensis) is isolated from other Orang-utans on the island of Sumatra, restricted to the Batang Toru region of Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra province, about 100 km. south of the range of P. abeli, from which it was found to differ substantially enough to warrant full species status. Its range used to extend south into the lowland peat forests in the Lumut area, which have recently been converted to Oil Palm plantations. The total population of Tapanuli Orang-utans is estimated at fewer than 800 individuals, making it the least numerous great ape species.

Of the 50-odd species of flying lizards distributed across South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Philippines, the Great Flying Lizard (Draco maximus) is the largest, capable of reaching a total length of 16 inches. It is found on Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula. Like the other members of its genus, it can spread its elongated ribs to form a pair of wing-like appendages upon which it can glide with astonishing grace and agility from one tree to another. Incidental subjects in the painting include a Malayan Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus) and the planthopper Dictyophara patruelis.