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‘Orang-utan provoked by visitors’

Sunday June 5, 2005

‘Orang-utan provoked by visitors’

BY JACK WONG

KUCHING: The orang-utan that attacked two visitors at the Matang Wildlife Centre near here early this week could have been provoked. 

This was based on a report from the warden-in-charge, who submitted it to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, and an inspection at the site by the corporation's protected areas and biodiversity conservation general manager Wilfred Landong. 

“Based on the report from the warden-in-charge and my inspection, I believe the orang-utan was provoked – intentionally or unintentionally – by the visitors,” he said. 

Landong said his officers had also gone to the centre following press reports on the incident and found that it involved a female orang-utan named Chiam, which was cuddling her baby just before the attack.  

“Female orang-utans are very protective of their babies and will turn aggressive if they are provoked,” he said.  

He added that the centre was trying to lure Chiam and its baby Mamu to the quarantine centre to study her behaviour. 

On Tuesday, a fun outing turned nasty for two sisters when the orang-utan bit them on their legs after it allegedly tried to grab a bag from an 11-year-old boy who was visiting the place with them. 

Three other children, aged 10 months, seven, and 17, were also visiting with the two women, who only gave their surnames as Tong. 

No one was harmed in the afternoon incident except for the sisters, who are in their 30s and 40s.  

The two women were given some medicine by the centre’s caretaker for their wounds and later treated at the Sarawak General Hospital. 

Landong said the area where the incident happened had been temporarily closed to visitors.  

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