Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Organising ‘balik kampung’ for displaced orang utans

DURING a media luncheon in Putrajaya yesterday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had said in jest that Malaysia was toying with the idea of taking all the orang utans from the zoos of cold-climate Western countries “balik kampung” in the spirit of Hari Raya.

However, he admitted that currently there was still no effective platform for Malaysia to undertake such an initiative.

Balik Kampung in Malay means to return to the place of origin. In this case, Malaysia is considering to release the zoo-captivated orang utans back to its natural habitats in the island of Borneo.

This perhaps is one way to counter the constant attacks from Western NGOs to prove to them that Malaysia is a responsible palm oil producer.

In Sabah, for example, there exists a 47-year old Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary covering 4,300ha of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which was initially set up to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utans.

In addition, Malaysia via the support of local palm oil industry and Sabah state is currently pursuing a mega wildlife sanctuary involving 100,000ha of rainforest in an area of 300,000ha of contiguous forest zones in Sabah.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron had said the proposed wildlife sanctuary would have 100,000ha of nucleus with rehabilitation and release function for orang utan and other wildlife.

This (the size of the wildlife sanctuary) is over three times the size of Singapore. “There are 4 million people in Singapore but only 11,000 orang utans in Sabah.

Continue reading at: Organising ‘balik kampung’ for displaced orang utans

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