Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Restoration of degraded forest crucial for survival of orang-utans

The large scale restoration of degraded forest in Ulu Segama and Malua Forest Reserves are crucial for the long term survival of the orang-utans population in Sabah.

According to Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) Executive Director, Datuk Dr Junaidi Payne during the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) 70th Anniversary International Conference on “Challenges and Solutions for a Tropical Biodiversity” held at a hotel near here recently that the two areas had the country’s largest orangutan population.

He added that the current government has made a strong commitment to keeping the area (about 240,000 hectares) under natural forest in order to conserve the orangutan population.

However, a future administration can just as easily alter that commitment and ‘cut off’ a big chunk of the forest for oil palm plantation expansion on the grounds that ‘there is no choice’ for the State economy or to sustain the local processing industry at Lahad Datu, he said.

“Investing in restoring the big areas of degraded forest here will help to ensure the commitment of the present government is sustained in the long term,” he said.

Dr Junaidi also commented that efforts by certain quarters to conduct public awareness and the building of rope bridges across rivers for orangutans to cross are equally important aids to helping save the species in the long-term.

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