KOTA KINABALU: Participants of a conference on orang utan, the first of its kind to be held in Sabah, have called on the state government to review its current and future forest management plans to ensure survival of the globally endangered species.
In a resolution adopted at the closing of the three-day International Workshop on Orang Utan Conservation in Sabah on Thursday, they expressed concern that recent surveys confirmed that the remaining wild population of the Pongo pygmaeus faced a high risk of extinction.
Since over 60% of the states estimated 13,000 orang utan are found in commercial forests.
The largest concentration of 6,300 orang utan is found in the forests of the Sabah Foundation, followed by 1,700 in Upper Kinabatangan, 1,300 in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, and 1,100 in Lower Kinabatangan.
Meanwhile, the Sabah Wildlife Department is drafting a management plan aimed at conserving and maintaining a genetically viable orang utan population in the Lower Kinabatangan.
A major concern was the fragmented orang utan population in Kinabatangan as over 80% of the 330,000ha floodplain has been cleared for oil palm plantations, leaving isolated pockets of forests.
Deputy director Laurentius Ambu said the plan proposed linking these patches of forests through wooded corridors.