Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Taxonomical Update for Orangutan
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the revised taxonomy of the orangutan under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). When we listed the orangutan in 1970, the listed entity included all orangutans in the genus Pongo. At that time, the scientific community recognized one species (Pongo pygmaeus) in the genus Pongo, which consisted of two subspecies (P. pygmaeus pygmaeus and P. p. abelii). However, the orangutan has recently been reclassified as belonging to two distinct species: P. pygmaeus and P. abelii. Therefore, we are revising the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife to reflect the current scientifically accepted taxonomy and nomenclature of the orangutan. Because all orangutans in the genus Pongo are already included under the original listing of Pongo pygmaeus as endangered under the Act, the newly recognized taxonomic species is considered part of the original listed entity, and this technical correction does not alter the regulatory protections afforded to the orangutan. For the same reason, if other Pongo species emerge due to future taxonomic revisions to further subdivide the genus Pongo, they would be encompassed by the original listing and this technical correction.