Borneo Orang-utan Appeal, Malaysia
Borneo's Orang-utans are losing their habitat to the oil palm industry but strongholds for their survival still remain. Find out how WLT is protecting Orang-utans, other threatened species and local livelihoods in the forests of Malaysian Borneo...
While more than 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of forest are under protection in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain, the forest reserves are fragmented. WLT and its partners aim to purchase strategically vital areas of forest to create wildlife corridors that will link these fragmented patches and ensure a continuous habitat is protected for wildlife and local communities alike.
Other projects in Malaysia:
The WLT is working hard to raise funds for strategic land purchases in Borneo and has already secured two important corridors, the Kretam – Kulamba Corridor and a first corridor in the Kinabatangan Floodplain. Together the corridors total 894 acres. Working with project partners, WLT is now focusing on a third, critical Orang-utan corridor, the Keruak Corridor, which will link Lot 2 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to the Keruak Forest Reserve. WLT is urgently raising funds in a bid to secure this land which will save166 acres and connect the two protected areas.
Working with local people:
In addition to securing corridors, by working in partnership with HUTAN, WLT has helped fund land protection and the development of management plans for the land saved. HUTAN works hand in hand with local communities to manage lands purchased with WLT funding, and to encourage sustainable, traditional practices such as collecting wild fruits and medicinal plants.
Protecting the Kinabatangan forests also conserves traditional fishing grounds close to the banks of the Kinabatangan River, maintaining an important source of protein for local families.
HUTAN employs 50 local people in its research, habitat restoration and education teams and the NGO has also established an Honorary Wildlife Warden Scheme, jointly set up with the Sabah Wildlife Department. WLT is funding one of HUTAN's Honorary Wildlife Wardens through our Keepers of the Wild Appeal.
Thanks to very generous support from donors over recent years WLT has successfully raised funds to protect two corridors as safe havens for Orang-utans and other threatened wildlife. But as more and more forests in Borneo are being cleared for oil palm plantations urgent funding has never been more needed than now.
All donations will go towards the purchase of the next strategic parcel of rainforest, connecting protected habitat for the survival of Orang-utans.
Borneo's vast biodiversity boasts:
15,000 species. Over 60 per cent of plants found in Borneo are endemic to the island, and over 360 new species to science have been discovered in recent times.
220 species, including:
- Bornean Orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus) classified as Endangered by IUCN. An estimated 700 individuals are resident within the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain.
- Nine other species of primate are found in the Kinabatangan area: Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis lavatus); Western Tarsir (Tarsius bancanus); Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis); Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina); Hose's Langur (Presbytis hosei), Silvered Langur (Trachypithecus cristatus) and Maroon Langur (Presbytis rubicunda); Bornean Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) and Slow Loris (Nycticebus menagensis).
- Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) classified as Endangered by IUCN, is a sub-species genetically distinct from mainland Asian Elephants with an estimated population of 300 individuals found within the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain.
A total of 622 species of birds have been recorded in Borneo, of which 434 breed on the island and 39 are endemic. In Sabah about 526 species have been documented of which four are only found in this state. The Kinabatangan region of Borneo is an incredibly rich area for bird life and 189 species have been recorded here.
- Borneo's eight species of hornbill can all be found in the Lower Kinabatangan, including the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) and Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil).
- Kinabatangan is an important site for several globally threatened waterbirds. The Storm's Stork (Ciconia stormi) is classified as Endangered by IUCN and Borneo’s last viable population of the Storm’s Stork is found in the Kinabatangan wetlands.
Reptiles and Amphibians:
More than 250 species have been recorded.
- Running out of time: relentless clearance of forest for oil palm plantations means that we must act as quickly as possible to ensure that habitat fragmentation is reduced or abated.
- Forest destruction: primarily due to commercial logging and clearing for oil palm plantations, a trend that is rapidly increasing in response to the global demand for palm oil.
- Extinction: habitat loss on this scale could lead to the extinction of many of the island’s ‘flagship’ species. Worst-case scenarios indicate that if forest destruction continues the Orang-utan could be virtually extinct in many areas within the next decade.
So far WLT has helped HUTAN secure the following areas to protect vital habitat for Orang-utans and other threatened Bornean wildlife:
- Kretam - Kulamba Corridor – a 672 acre area in NE Borneo.
- Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain – a 222 acre wildlife corridor has been secured so far.
- Two smaller properties - these will contribute towards safeguarding future wildlife corridors in the region.
- Keruak Corridor – WLT's current urgent appeal.
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