Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Orang utan habitats 'not under threat'

KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry Corporation managing director Datuk Len Talif Salleh described as false the repeated claims by Western non-governmental organisations and media that orang utan habitats in the state were under threat from oil palm plantations.

"The claims that the opening up of one million hectares for oil palm by 2010 would include orang utan habitats are false," he said on Friday.

Len said the animals were found in Sri Aman, Sarikei, Sibu and Kapit divisions.

"All the areas in these divisions have been gazetted as totally protected areas, either as wildlife sanctuaries or national parks.

"Sarawak has Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (168,758ha) and Batang Ai National Park (24,040ha), dedicated to orang utan conservation.
"Another important habitat for orang utan is in Gunung Lesong, Sri Aman, which is in the process of being gazetted as a totally protected area," he said, adding that the orang utan population in Sarawak was stable.

He said the orang utan population had been monitored in Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park since the 1990s, and the conservation projects at rehabilitation centres such as the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre had produced positive results.

"The semi-wild orang utan population at the centre is now able to sustain itself and to date, 14 baby orang utan were born at Semenggoh and six baby orang utan were born at the Matang Wildlife Centre."


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