Malaysia: Usher in awareness on Malaysian primates this Monkey year

The Star 7 Feb 16;

KOTA KINABALU: As Malaysians usher in the Lunar Year of the Monkey, conservationists are hoping that this will lead to more awareness on the need to protect the primates which are fast diminishing in Sabah’s forests.

Apart from the better known and endangered orangutan and proboscis monkeys, at least eight other species of primates in the state need to be conserved.

Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said his wish was for more people to learn about primates and to do their bit to help in conservation efforts.

He advised the public against buying or keeping them as pets, saying that primates “belong in the wild”.

“Once they are pets, they won't be able to adjust in the jungle.

“Do not hunt them. Their numbers are decreasing and they may not be around for long,’’ Dr Sen, who also heads the Wildlife Rescue Unit, said in an interview.

He added that, there were now about 11,000 orangutan in Sabah and an estimated 6,000 proboscis monkeys in the wild.

The 10 other types of primates in the state include the Bornean gibbon, the slow loris, Western tarsier, langurs (the silver langur, hose's langur and maroon langur) and long and pig-tailed macaques.

Dr Sen said the Bornean gibbon was also endangered with about 250,000 in Borneo while the slow lorris, western tasier and hose’s langurs were “vulnerable” too.

It has been reported that in only seven years, the population of the hose's langur has reduced by 80%. Silver and maroon langurs are less threatened.

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