Govt ready to help Sabah in orang utan conservation

Posted on November 23, 2011. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star-

KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government is ready to help Sabah in its conservation of orang utan by financially assisting the state to acquire land between areas planted with oil palm.

This included buying parcels of land, largely owned by oil palm plantations, to be used as forest corridors, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

“I read in the papers about the difficulties faced by orang utan in moving through the oil palm plantations.

“I view this seriously. Perhaps the Sabah Government can work with us to acquire the lands.

“The Government will support whatever the state is doing, including with funds,” he said after launching the Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Palm Oil ninth roundtable meeting here yesterday.

Dompok pointed out that Malaysia had made great strides in the palm oil industry, amidst environmental allegations, which he dismissed as baseless.

“For example, a report titled The Last Stand of the Orang Utan: State of Emergency claimed that oil palm plantations were expanding so rapidly in our rainforests that there would be no virgin forest by 2022.

“It also claimed that an equivalent of 300 football fields were deforested every hour for plantations.

“I am of the view that all these allegations are based on fear due to the competitiveness of palm oil,” he said.

Dompok said that despite this, Malaysia was concerned about unsubstantiated allegations on the displacement of the orang utan.

“At the same time, we are also concerned about the treatment of orang utan in zoos worldwide, where they are subjected to cold weather and unfamiliar environment.

“As such, we would like to offer to bring back the orang utan diaspora to Sabah and place them in their natural surroundings.”

Over 1,000 delegates from 34 countries are attending the three-day event, which promotes sustainable practices in the palm oil industry.

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