KOTA KINABALU: A long-term conservation plan for Sabah’s iconic proboscis monkeys will be needed to address the primate’s habitat loss in the eastern and northern part of the state.
Wildlife experts agree that the proboscis monkey population was most threatened by habitat loss from the clearing of mangroves in east coast districts of Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau.
Research NGO Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) director Dr Benoit Goossens said a similar habitat loss was also affecting proboscis monkey populations in northern Kudat, Pitas and Kota Belud districts.
“The action plan will have to address other issues affecting them, including illegal hunting,” he said yesterday.
DGFC and the Sabah Wildlife Department held a three-day conference last month to get input from dozens of wildlife experts and researchers for the action plan on the primates.
Goossens said the preservation of mangrove forests must be implemented now.
He said that researchers also agreed on the need for a population survey of the primates in Sabah, which was now estimated to number about 6,000.
DGFC was collaborating with the department in drafting the action plan, which was expected to be launched later this year.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga had said the management plan for the proboscis monkeys would be the latest of the conservation strategies initiated by the state.
The other species that needed to be watched and protected are the Bornean elephant, orang utan and Sumatran rhino.