No Palm Oil Development Near Orang Utan Habitat

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is determined to ensure the continued existence of its iconic orang utans by enforcing land laws that do not allow clearing of forests along riparian reserves for planting crops such as oil palm. Riparian or river bank reserves are extremely important for linking isolated patches of forest which are home to such unique wildlife such as the orang utans, the Borneo Pygmy elephants, the sunbear (world’s smallest bear species) and many others. The commitment was made in a resolution from the two-day Orang utan Conservation Colloquium and it calls for a minimum of 100 meters for wildlife corridors along riverbanks to be acquired by the Sabah Wildlife Department. “We are here together to do one thing, to make sure future generations can see wildlife in their natural habitats and enjoy what we are able to enjoy now,” said the Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in accepting the final resolution. The resolution was formulated by orang utan and wildlife experts together with Sabah government officials and local and international Non Governmental Organisations including local communities. Masidi promised to enforce the resolution which he acknowledged as being a very important document with specific agenda and timeframe to get things done within three years. “Otherwise, trust me, we’ll still end up in another colloquium in three years time and talk the same thing and never get anywhere,” Masidi added. Masidi also ordered director of the Sabah Wildlife Department Laurentius Ambu to prepare a position paper based on the resolution to be tabled to the state cabinet. “The document recognises the importance of corridors within a fragmented landscape for biodiversity conservation of orang-utan and other wildlife,” Ambu said. ”Some of the action points are already in existing legislation and we merely need to implement and enforce these policies,” he added. The Colloquium themed, “Developing Models for Orang Utan Conservation Within Fragmented Ecosystem” was organised by the Borneo Conservation Trust with the Sabah Wildlife Department and French NGO HUTAN with funding from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council. Source : The Star by Muguntan Vanar


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