KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are not willing to relocate their orang utan to a new sanctuary for the primate in Kuala Lumpur.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said both states wanted their orang utan to stay where they were and, therefore, the government now had to look for orang utans from a small island in Perak.
He said the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) had allocated about 200 acres in Kepong to set up the new eco-tourism attraction that was similar to the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre here and the Sepilok orang utan sanctuary in Sandakan.
“We are going to transfer some of the orang utan from the island in Perak since the population has increased and exceeded the island’s caring capacity, which makes it difficult for the primates to get enough food,” he said opening SK Siburan Baru Parent-Teacher Association’s annual general meeting here Sunday.
Dawos said the species in Perak, the Borneon orang utan (Pongo pygmaeus), was similar to that in Sarawak and Sabah.
He was not certain when the project would start.
However, he said the government would not go back on its plan because an orang utan sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur would be a big success as it would leave a lasting impression on visitors in line with the government’s intention to make eco-tourism a more prominent sector.
“I cannot ascertain when we can make it a reality. But this is a directive from the Prime Minister, which is why we must do it,” he said.