MIRI: WWF-Malaysia is to carry out a survey on the habitats of orang utan in the northern Sarawak-Kalimantan-Sabah border.
The wildlife organisation, which celebrated International Orang Utan Day 2017 on Saturday, expects the project to help boost the survival rate and population of the primates in Sarawak’s forests.
WWF Malaysia will send its senior field biologist Lukmann Haqeem to the “Heart of Borneo” to compile data on the mammals.
The Heart of Borneo is a virgin jungle area in central Borneo Island shared by Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan.
Lukmann is entrusted with the task of gathering vital data on the existing location and population of the orang utan and how they strive in their habitats.
With such data, WWF Malaysia hopes to help the Sarawak government boost the survival rate and increase the primates’ population.
Lukmann told StarMetro that travelling to the the Heart of Borneo would take many weeks.
“Orang utan were documented in the Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary.
“We believe that there are orang utan living in the two million-hectare Heart of Borneo jungle.
Lukmann said it was important to study the orang utan’s habitats and nesting grounds to reduce the tendency of them migrating out of protected forests and national parks.
“If they migrate out of these areas, they will end up in the hands of hunters and poachers,” he said.
“There are only about 1,600 orang utan in Sarawak now,” he added.
Lukmann said the orang utan population in Sabah was estimated at 11,000.
“So there is much to be done in Sarawak to protect and conserve these primates and to boost their numbers in the wild,” he said.