Leading Orang-utan expert praises MY example

Respected scientist and orang-utan expert – Dr Erik Meijaard – recently commended Malaysian conservation achievements in an op-ed published in the Jakarta Globe.
Meijaard highlighted Malaysian conservation initiatives as examples where “incredible” animal populations live in close proximity to plantations and settlements; but expressed concern that the activities of local communities in some South-East Asian countries were threatening wildlife populations.
According to Meijaard, most media attention given to conservation in Indonesia for example, focuses on the threat of habitat loss by industry – in particular palm oil and forestry companies. However Meijaard stated that local populations pose threats to animal populations, but are not often singled out because “blaming the offenders (local villagers) is slightly uncomfortable.”
Meijaard further indicates that Malaysian efforts to reduce occurrence of wildlife harvests are working. He refers to the Kinabatangan area in Malaysia as a success story where “there is very little hunting and the difference it makes to wildlife is very visible.”
Despite being comprised of pockets of degraded forests, the area maintains populations of what Meijaard describes as “incredible wildlife”, including endemic Borneo pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and a population of some 800 orang-utans.
Based on this success, it appears that relatively small areas of forests can harbour important populations of species; and that palm oil plantations can occur side by side with conservation when both are managed correctly.
Meijaard commented in particular on effective awareness and education programs that he accredits with reducing wildlife killing resulting from human-wildlife conflict. According to Meijaard, where there was once a tendency to retaliate against wildlife that damaged garden crops or plantations, there is now a “tendency to resolve such conflicts with non-lethal methods”.
The Malaysian experience in places such as Kinabatangan serves as an example for other biodiverse countries with growing demand for agriculture and food.
MPOC contributes significantly to conservation efforts such as those in Kinabatangan. One such initiative involves funding research and conservation efforts in partnership with the Sabah Wildlife Department. MPOC with the Borneo Conservation Trust has also committed to an elephant sanctuary in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Conservation efforts such as this are evidence that the Malaysian industry are leaders in sustainable palm oil production.

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Written by The Oil Palm