Monday, June 14, 2010

Study on how ‘rehabilitated’ orangutan cope in the wild in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: An extensive study on rescued and “rehabilitated” orang utan that have been released back into the forests has begun in Sabah as part of efforts to ascertain how the animals are coping in the wild.

Three orang utan, implanted with tracking devices, were freed into the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, an area twice the size of Singapore and covered with primary and secondary forests.

It is part of a research by the Sabah Wildlife Department and The Sepilok Orangutan Appeal UK, a non-governmental organisation based in Britain.

James Robins, a primatologist from the NGO, said the study began last month and that it was the first time that the primates were implanted with telemetry devices to enable researchers to track them in the forests.

“This would enable wildlife researchers and me to keep tabs on the orang utan in Tabin,” he added.

“We track them on a daily basis. One of the most important aspects of our research is to document the behaviour of the newly released orang utan including the type of fruits they are feeding on and whether they are getting enough to eat.

“If we are unable to immediately identify the food that they eat, we will collect the samples and identify them at a later date,” he said.

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