MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, August 19, 2022

Zuraida: Humans the cause of wildlife extinction, not palm oil

Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry said that hunting by humans was a major contributor to the decline of Bornean orangutans over the last 200 years, long before significant oil palm development began in the 1970s.

In conjunction with International Orangutan Day celebrated yearly on Aug 19, its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (above) also denied allegations that palm oil plantation was the biggest threat to the orangutans, with some quarters even going to the extent of brandishing the edible oil as an “orangutan killer”.

In the guise of wanting to save orangutans, she alleged some campaigners have embarked on disseminating provocative statements that include “an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production”, “25 orangutans are lost every day” and that “orangutans will be extinct within the next five to 10 years”.

“While it is true that orangutans in Borneo have become endangered species, it is also equally true that many other animal species have become endangered due to the rising human population on Earth,” she said in a statement.

Citing a study, Zuraida further said that according to Statista, changes in land and sea use in the Asia Pacific make up only 43 percent of the factors threatening wildlife populations, while more than 50 percent are due to over-exploitation, invasive species and diseases, hunting, pollution and climate change.

“In the research conducted by Statista, all wildlife – not just orangutans – are threatened across the world. They are not limited to other monkey and animal species that inhabit Borneo per se but spread across North America, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, Caribbean and Africa,” she said.

Rehabilitation ongoing

According to Zuraida, Malaysia has allotted 43 square kilometres of protected land at the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sabah as a rehabilitation site for orangutans.

“Today, around 60 to 80 orangutans are living independently in the reserve while approximately 25 orphaned orangutans are housed in the nurseries,” she said.

Zuraida said MPIC has also initiated the Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) through the Malaysian Palm Oil Council as a sustainability platform funded by the palm oil industry, through the collection of cesses to reflect the industry’s commitment toward ensuring palm oil players and smallholders remain sustainable in their practices.

“In this regard, MPOGCF is joining forces with Sabah Wildlife Department to support wildlife rescue and conservation efforts.

“This includes the establishment of Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit which was set up by the Sabah Wildlife Department in collaboration with MPOGCF, with the main task of rescuing and translocating distressed wildlife including orangutans,” she added.


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