`The Highland Tiger` wrote back:
'Jon, I thank you for posting my comments. I understand that you wish to accept the findings of your experts. However, do you not think it prudent to contact orangutan specialists for their opinion of the hair samples. For them to confirm the identity of the hair samples would in my opinion have more validity in the wider zoological world. You need confirmation of the hair samples. not from just a generalist such as Lars, but from someone who is an expert in orangutan physiology. You need to eliminate any possibility it is of a known orangutan sub species, before you can claim it is of a new species.
And for the record, Richard Freeman is incorrect, in saying that orangutans have been missing from Western Sumatra since the 1880's. The IUCN report indicates that there were reports up to as recently as the 1960's. I really feel you need to get as many professional opinions on the hairs as you can.'
We wrote to Lars Thomas, who replied:
'Unfortunately it will not be possible to send anything to anybody - in order to get enough DNA out of the hairs, all the rest of them had to be sacrificed. The actual extraction process destroys the hairs. All that remains are my notes and drawings and the various pictures taken from the screen of the big microscope during the Weird Weekend. But intriguingly enough, a couple of days ago I got a call from a Danish guy, who used to work as a tourist guide in Indonesia. He had stumbled onto the CFZ blog and read about the orang pendek. He claims to have some long orange/reddish brown hairs in his position he found in Sumatra about 10 years ago, at a place where some local had seen an orang pendek. He never though much about it at the time, and just kept the hairs as a fun souvenir of his time in Indonesia.'
As far as the dates when orang utans were last seen in Kerinci National Park, Richard had been told that they had not been there since the 19th century. However, in the light of what THT has written, we have written to Debbie Martyr and the management of the park for clarification.