Hope for orang utans in Malaysia and Indonesia

Joniston Bangkuai New Straits Times 25 Sep 10;

KOTA KINABALU: Researchers in Malaysia and Indonesia have found that some forests which are sustainably logged and those used for harvesting pulp and paper can still serve as habitats for the orang utan.

This is welcome news for conservationists because the endangered species is facing extinction.

"Their natural habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia have been much reduced in size and fragmented, while the hunting of these apes continue," said Dr Erik Meijaard, the lead author of a study on orang utans in acacia plantations which was recently published in the journal, PlosONE.

The study had found that orang utans in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan used secondary forest and protected areas as well as acacia plantations for feeding and nesting.

Meijaard said with 75 per cent of the orang utans found outside the protected areas, the species would have to be managed in a multitude of different areas from timber concessions to plantations as well as forest corridors which allowed them to migrate through them.

Sabah-based Dr Marc Ancrenaz of the French non-governmental organisation Hutan, who was also one of the co-authors on the acacia study, had led another study on timber concessions in Sabah.


The results, published in PlosONE in July, showed that orang utans survived in high numbers in sustainably managed timber concessions.

However, if logging was done without using sustainable practices, the orang utans' survival rate would drop dramatically.

Meijaard, who is with People and Nature Consulting International, warned against over-simplifying the message from the two studies.


"For general biodiversity conservation, well-protected natural forests are still the best.

"This new finding will help us work with the government to optimally design land use outside protected areas to support both conservation and development objectives."

Sustainably Logged Forests Can Still Serve As Orang Utan Habitats
Bernama 23 Sep 10;

SANDAKAN, Sept 23 (Bernama) -- Researchers in Indonesia and Malaysia have found that some forests which are sustainably logged can still serve as habitats for orang utans.

The studies done in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan and in Sabah were recently published in the PLoS ONE journal.

Lead author Dr Erik Meijaard of People and Nature Consulting International said this was important news for orang utan conservation as the iconic species was highly endangered with extinction in the wild.

"Their native habitats in Indonesia and Malaysia have reduced in size and are fragmented, and hunting for this ape continues in many parts of their habitats.

"With 75 per cent of all remaining orang utans occurring outside protected areas, the species will somehow have to be managed in a multitude of different areas like timber concessions, plantations and forest corridors that allow orang utans to migrate through these areas," Meijaard said in a statement, here, Thursday.

Meijaard, however, warned against over-simplifying the message from the two studies, as well-protected forests are still the best option for general biodiversity conservation.

He said new understanding from the studies helped conservationists to work with government authorities to optimally design land use outside protected areas to support conservation and development objectives.

Dr Marc Ancrenaz of Sabah-based French non-governmental organisation HUTAN is one of the co-authors o the paper.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said the findings of the studies had given his department better tools to design landscapes consisting of protected core areas, forest corridors, timber concessions and plantations.

"As the de facto guardians of the orang utans and Borneo Pygmy elephants, such vital scientific data allow us to design management plans for wildlife in a manner that would contribute to their survival," he said.

-- BERNAMA

See also Orangutans can survive in timber plantations, selectively logged forests Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com September 23, 2010

1 comment:

  1. In the Philippines, we suffer from similar problems. Social-economics play a big part in conservation and public awareness in wildlife. We have Zoos like Zoobic, which entertain, inform and even provide housing/jobs for our native "aitas" tribes. At times, I feel we are in a up hill battle here, but with more awareness will come more responsibility.

    I pray for hope and continued support from those who love nature.

    Thanks for listening.

    ReplyDelete