JOHOR BARU: There are six types of primates in the wild in Johor, with two now on the endangered species list due to poaching, deforestation and human wildlife conflict.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Professor Dr Ahmad Ismail said the lack of awareness among the authorities and the public had also led to the decline in the numbers.
“While we are not sure of the exact numbers of the two endangered primates in the wild, we hope the authorities will do more to protect and conserve them,” he added.
He stressed that it was also important to carry out more research on the species, have more educational awareness programmes and get support from the authorities and other non- governmental organisations to address the matter.
He added that one way for the public to know the six species is via a newly-launched educational brochure titled “Primates of Johor”.
Prof Ahmad stressed on the need for public awareness and education regarding the primate species found in Johor.
Two of the six primates featured that are endangered are the Raffles’ Banded Langur and the Malaysian White Handed Gibbon.
The other featured species are the Dusky Langur, the Long-tailed Macaque, the Southern Pig-tailed Macaque and the Sunda Slow Loris.
“People overseas are studying the intelligence of primates while in our country we look at them as pests. We must change that perception.
He said with more research, more data can be collected on their behaviour, biology and ecology which are useful in the conservation of the species.
“We want to give more effective information to educate the public about the primates and their habitat.
“We will be distributing these brochures to schools nationwide and the areas nearby the protected places that are the habitat of these primates,” said Prof Ahmad.
Meanwhile, Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group (RBL WG) chairman Dr Andie Ang hoped to reach as many people as possible with the launch of their educational brochure.
“Primates are the closest living relatives to humans.
“They are part of the natural wildlife heritage of Malaysia, Singapore and the world and play a very important role in ensuring the health of our forests’ eco-systems,’ said Dr Ang.
She said a lot of the awareness is needed in terms of how to live harmoniously with the primates and to understand the rich biodiversity of primates in our forests.
“One of the key objectives is to get government support and also strengthen cross-border collaboration.
“I think cross-border collaboration is very important because nature has no borders and it is shared among countries,” she said, adding that they need to look beyond countries in order to come together to conserve these species.
The brochure produced by RBL WG was launched in Danga Bay.
The brochure is funded by Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund and Malaysian Nature Society supported by the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group.