14 Apr 2019 (New Straits Times Online) KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department is expected to release the latest population of orang utan and pygmy elephants by 2021.
Its director Augustine Tuuga said the survey, which recently received RM1.5 million fund from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), would help the state plan conservation efforts for the two species in the future.
“The last studies on both animals were done in 2003, in which the orang utan survey was conducted with a non-governmental organisation, Hutan, while Borneo pygmy elephant population data was provided by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“When we have the latest information, whether the numbers are increasing or dropping, the department will make plans to ensure the sustainability of both species,” he said today.
In 2004, the orang utan population in Sabah had dropped to about 11,000 while WWF estimated that there was only around 1,500 elephants left.
Over 100 elephants have died in the last eight years in the state.
Deforestation, logging and rapid expansion of palm oil plantations have contributed to the decline of both species.
Augustine added that the survey on elephants will be conducted in the east coast of Sabah and for orang utan, the areas would be all over the state including at the Kinabalu park.
“The department will collaborate with other organisations in conducting the population survey,” he added.