Sabah mulls breeding endangered wild cattle


  • Nation
  • Monday, 01 Jan 2018

A good moo-ve: There are only about 400 banteng left in the wild.

KOTA KINABALU: A state government’s plan to breed the critically endangered Bornean banteng or wild cattle in oil palm plantations is feasible in reversing its possible extinction, said a conservationist.

Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goossens, who has been promoting an action plan, said it was a good idea to put a few banteng in the plantations for breeding purposes.

“If it is to put a few banteng in the oil palm plantations to breed them, why not? An estate may be willing to collaborate and provide space.

“There will be a need for shade and some forest,” he said.

However, he said serious thought about the food and safety of the banteng should be looked into to ensure that the animals were safe.

“I believe all these issues could be discussed,” he said, adding that the banteng was critically endangered and could face the fate of Sumatran Rhinos, which had been declared extinct in the wild in Sabah with only two in captivity left.

With only about 400 banteng left in the wild, Dr Goosens said such a move would increase its population, which was in danger of facing habitat loss and being poached for meat.

Last week, Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustien Tuuga had said it was looking for a partnership with oil palm plantations to breed banteng through captive breeding and the application of advanced reproductive technology, and reintroduce these animals in the future.

Captive breeding, said Dr Goosens, was currently not necessary for other wildlife like the Bornean pygmy elephant, the proboscis monkey, the sun bear and the clouded leopard, adding that the situation was also not critical for the orang utan.

“However, a centre for the captive breeding of pangolins may be necessary.

“Banteng is fine because it’s a cattle and it’s easy to breed and feed,” he said.

“We must focus on protecting the forest, stopping deforestation, restoring the forest, keeping connectivity and stopping poaching and trade, and we should be fine for most species,” added Dr Goossens.

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