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Regional Symposium On Orangutan Conservation

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Launching Orangutan SymposiumKuching, Monday, November 2, 2009 - There is estimated between 1500 to 2000 Orangutans remaining in the wild in Sarawak, its viable population concentrating at two totally protected areas – Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park.

This come to light during the officiating ceremony of Regional Symposium on Orangutan Conservation themed Orangutan Survival: Strategizing for Human and Orangutan Needs. Pehin Sri Hj. Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak’s speech was read by Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management and Minister of Public Utilities.

Taib Mahmud said “Historically, the State Government of Sarawak has a long history for environmental protection and conservation. For instance, elements of environmental protection and conservation have been embedded in many of our plans, policies, laws and regulations”. He also quoted Master Plan for Wildlife in Sarawak developed in collaboration with Wildlife Conservation Society had provided cross-sectoral wildlife strategy to benefit conservation of wildlife and natural resources throughout the State and balanced the State development needs.

He also emphasised that the legislative framework adopted by the State ensures its wildlife existence for perpetuity and the legal protection include Orangutan.

On constructive partnership with various bodies, agencies and NGOs, at national and international front Taib Mahmud reiterated “this has been beneficial in terms of conservation development gained and the State is interested towards building synergistic relationship that focuses on actions rather than fictitious claims laced with false piety”.

He also cited trans-borders cooperation such as Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area cooperation or BIMP-EAGA which enables coordination of the management of ecosystems and common resources to ensure sustainable development in respective sub-regions.

In addition to that he said that the State is only concerned with things that matters such as increasing research capacities not finding faults or finger pointing.

“We need valid information to make sound judgement, to decide what is right, what is best and what is possible. To this extent, our firm belief still to unite our diverse capabilities into common pursuits and objectives – that brings us to new inroads in collaboration, for the sake of Orangutan and our biodiversity wealth”. Datu Hj. Len Talif Salleh, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Resource Management, who is also Director of Forests and Controller of Wildlife said during the launch of Regional Symposium on Orangutan Conservation “To maintain viable community of Orangutan in Sarawak, to develop a feasible Strategic Orangutan Management Plan, we pursue consultative approach rather than ‘holier than thou’ attitude”. According to Len Talif all processes for rehabilitation of wildlife in Sarawak and development of strategic management plan for orang-utan conforms to the IUCN framework of which one of the components is community consultation.

Len Talif, who is also Managing Director and CEO of SARAWAK FORESTRY, lambasted international media for what he said as false and lopsided reporting. Commenting further “Despite Sarawak’s commitment in ensuring sustainable protection of these Orangutans, apparent in her various legislations, pledges made in the international as well as national arena, impressive strings of totally protected areas network established” Len Talif emphasised that these efforts by the State are undervalued.

Further to that he added “Sarawak is steadfast in practicing sustainable forest management with compliance to the international principles and standards. We believe that it is the best mitigation option to alleviate pressure on forest production areas thus at the same time to conserve our pristine biodiversity wealth – orangutan included”. He concluded that the Symposium will lead to scientific information on the ‘critical survival thresholds’ of Orangutan at the same time providing a platform for all stakeholders to have a say in the development and implementation of the strategic plan for Orangutans in Sarawak.

The 3-day Regional Symposium on Orangutan Conservation themed ‘Orangutan Survival: Strategizing for Human and Orangutan Needs attracted 120 local and international participants. A total of 23 papers were presented from various aspects revolving around orangutan conservation. The symposium aimed at gathering views and recommendations from experts and stakeholders towards the creation of Orangutan Strategic Management Plan for Sarawak.

Last Updated ( Friday, 13 November 2009 08:05 )  

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