Monday, August 08, 2011

In two minds over language plan for orang utan in Sarawak

KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is in two minds on renowned primatologist and conservationist Dr Francine Neago’s proposal to set up a school for apes in the state.

This is because SFC, which is responsible for managing and conserving wildlife, prefers in principle to keep wild animals in their natural habitat with minimal contact with humans.

SFC managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Len Talif Salleh said, unlike some developed countries where orang utan were kept in zoos, the state’s great apes were either in the wild or semi-wild, as in the case of those in the Semenggoh and Matang rehabilitation centres.

“Another school of thought is to have the least contact between orang utans and humans because of the risk of passing on diseases to the animals.

“But I’m not dismissing Dr Neago’s proposal outright, just that in principle we would like to keep our orang utans and other animals in the wild.

“I need to discuss such possibilities with my officers and Dr Neago is most welcome to present her proposal to us officially.

“We’ll see where we can help her,” he told The Star yesterday.

Dr Neago said she had created a computer-spelling programme that could help orang utan to acquire language skills and communicate with humans.

Her immediate need, she said, was a piece of land big enough for her to stay with a young orang utan and teach spelling to the animal.

If Dr Neago’s wish is granted, Sarawak may become a world leader in research on the orang utan and other endangered species.

Continue reading at: In two minds over language plan for orang utan in Sarawak

No comments: