Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Safe home for Orang-utans this Christmas

13 December, 2011 - 14:16 -- World Land Trust
Orang-utan mother and baby

Thanks to your support the World Land Trust (WLT) has successfully funded new land purchase in Malaysian Borneo, protecting this rainforest habitat forever

This Christmas the World Land Trust (WLT) has more than the festive season to celebrate after successfully protecting a forest home for Orang-utans. We have funded 14 acres of rainforest in the Sabah state of northern Borneo, a strategically important parcel of land that will help protect these endangered Great Apes.

About 80 per cent of Malaysia’s wild Orang-utan population is found in the state of Sabah in Borneo; WLT are focusing our efforts on creating wildlife corridors in the Lower Kinabatangan region of Sabah, to connect one protected area with another to create a larger safe haven for them to move safely.

The Lower Kinabatangan is suffering from an alarming rate of deforestation, turning once dense forest into fragmented and isolated patches of trees. In these isolated areas, Orang-utan populations become stranded, unable to move safely through their forest home in search of food and mating partners – hampering the survival prospects.

Protecting strategic parcels of land

Bornean Elephants

The Lower Kinabatangan is home to other iconic species such as the Bornean pygmy elephant.© HUTAN

By protecting relatively small but strategically important parcels of land, like the 14 acres just purchased, WLT is helping to create a contiguous habitat for Borneo’s flagship species – such as the Orang-utan and the Pygmy Elephant.

The cost of land in Borneo is spiralling as demand from the oil palm industry pushes prices up, with forests being brought up and stripped of their forest at an alarming rate to make way for oil palm plantations. Buying land here is becoming increasingly difficult, being both time consuming and very expensive; this is why focusing our efforts on buying strategically important parcels of land to connect safe forests is so important.

Working in partnership to protect Orang-utans

WLT works with two partner organisations in Malaysia, Leap Spiral and HUTAN, who collaborate with one another to protect the Lower Kinabatangan region. Isabelle Lackman, Director of HUTAN, said:

“This whole area is very important for wildlife and we are trying to purchase as many parcels as we can. The 14 acres is a riverine piece of forest and is prime habitat for Orang-utans and other wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, leaf monkeys, and hornbills.”

She added: “It is also part of the traditional elephant route for their migration past the village of Sukau from the Kinabatangan estuary downriver to the upriver forests. Had this land been converted to an Oil Palm plantation or for tourism development, the elephant route would have been cut off and this would results in a significant increase in conflict between people and elephants surrounding the village.”

Donating to the Borneo Orang-utan is the perfect green Christmas gift for all animal-lovers. A gift for life, it will help WLT in our challenge to save their forest home forever.

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