KUCHING, 7 JULY 2018 – Orangutan is a Totally Protected Species under the Wild Life protection Ordinance, 1998 and has been accorded protection under Sarawak’s law dated back to the 1940s. All orangutan natural habitats in Sarawak are protected as in Batang Ai National Park (NP), Ulu Sebuyau NP, Sedilu NP, Lanjak-Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary and Bukit Lesong Nature Reserve. The only other population outside protected areas is in Ulu Menyang, which is now protected under the Orangutan Conservation Area.
On the rehabilitation front, Sarawak have Semenggoh and Matang Wildlife Centres. Semenggoh Wildlife Centre established in 1975 is mainly to care for and rehabilitate confiscated or surrendered orangutan and other wildlife.
Back in year 2000, Sarawak State Government had an MoU with Bukit Merah Lake Town (BMLT), Perak to transfer on loan four orangutans to promote ex-situ conservation, research and public education. Today, BMLT has a total of 21 orangutans including its offsprings, a success story of ex-situ conservation. BMLT and SARAWAK FORESTRY will continuously collaborate on orangutan research and monitoring to realise the viability of these semi-wild populations.
The Assistant Minister of Urban Development, Land Administration and Environment, who is also Chairman of Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (SFCSB), Datu Hj. Len Talif Salleh on behalf of Sarawak State Government received the symbolic handing over of the Orangutans at an event which was witnessed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on 6 July 2018.
Semenggoh has successfully released 11 orangutans which has produced 24 offsprings and now into its third generation, thus a need for introduction of orangutans to reduce inbreeding in the population. Datu Hj. Len Talif Salleh emphasized that the repatration of two male orangutans to Sarawak is a timely exercise as this will allow diversity of genetic materials to our semi-wild population.
Photo Caption: Symbolic handing over of orangutan by Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar to Datu Hj Len Talif Salleh witnessed by the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad