The talks, which will be streamed live on Facebook, aim to raise public awareness and appreciation of orang utan conservation and garner more support towards protecting the species and their habitat.
As International Orang Utan Day falls on Aug 19, three daily one-hour talks will be held starting Aug 17, featuring speakers from Sarawak and Sabah involved in orang utan conservation.
The first talk will focus on orang utan restoration work in Bukit Piton in Lahad Datu, Sabah, where the orang utan are now thriving thanks to dedicated efforts by WWF-Malaysia, Yayasan Sabah, Sabah Forestry Department and private corporations.
This session will feature talks by WWF-Malaysia’s orang utan conservation manager Donna Simon and habitat restoration connectivity manager Fredinand Lobinsiu.
On Aug 18, a talk titled “Communities Living with Orang Utans in Harmony” will share how the authorities and NGOs in Sarawak work with the people who live in and near orang utan habitats in Ulu Sungai Menyang and Gunung Lesong National Park in Sri Aman division.
The speakers for this session are Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia senior communications officer Marianne Chiam and WWF-Malaysia conservation area officer Ailyn Nau Sidu.
In the final talk on Aug 19, Sarawak Forestry Corporation wildlife officer Sundai Silang and Project Borneo project manager Dominik Kelundek will speak about the ups and down of saving and rehabilitating rescued orang utan.
Sarawak and Sabah are home to two endangered sub-species of orang utan, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus in Sarawak and Pongo pygmaeus morio in Sabah.
These primates face a number of threats, including forest conversion, unsustainable logging, forest fires and infrastructure development.
It is estimated that there are about 1,800 orang utan left in Sarawak and 11,000 in Sabah.
The virtual talks can be accessed at www.facebook.com/wwfmy.