Palm oil industry celebrates orang utan


To mark World Orangutan Day, Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF) organised an event called “The Other Malaysians” at Zoo Negara.

World Orangutan Day is celebrated on Aug 19 every year to promote the harmonious coexistence between humans and orang utan.

The celebration at the National Zoo in Ampang, Selangor, consisted of a fun walk, night camp and “grow and glow”, attracting 750 participants.

Plantation and Commodities Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mad Zaidi Mohd Karli said the plight of the orang utan was used by some parties as a reason to undermine the Malaysian palm oil industry’s reputation in international markets.

(From left) Hairulazim, Mad Zaidi and Rosly posing with orang utan mascots at the event. — Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star(From left) Hairulazim, Mad Zaidi and Rosly posing with orang utan mascots at the event. — Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

“Actually, one of the biggest threats to the orang utan population is poaching.

“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorised orang utan Borneo as a critically endangered species with 104,700 left worldwide.

“However, based on the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 2019’s report that studied orang utan nests from May 2014 to March 2017, the orang utan population in Sabah has been stable for the past 15 years,” he said in his speech during the launch.

MPOGCF is a foundation of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council – an agency under the ministry – that runs green preservation activities which include orang utan, tigers and elephants.

About 500 people took part in the fun walk where they viewed the enclosure of orang utan Borneo as well as orang utan Sumatra. The third orang utan species is the Tapanuli.

Children and adults enjoying an activity for World Orangutan Day.Children and adults enjoying an activity for World Orangutan Day.

The celebration also marked the completion of sponsorship worth RM1.1mil by the Malaysia palm oil industry through MPOGCF to upgrade the orang utan enclosure in Zoo Negara.

MPOGCF acting general manager Hairulazim Mahmud hoped the celebration would bring more awareness to the public and industry players alike.

“We are driving towards sustainability and conservation as well as ensuring that all palm oil processes are in accordance with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) standards,” he said.

During the event, it was announced that MPOGCF would give RM1.2mil for a population survey of orang utan in Sabah.

Other conservation efforts include a programme to plant one million trees to rehabilitate the orang utan habitat in the 2,500ha-wide Ulu Segamamalua in Lahad Datu, Sabah, and funding a Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) to relocate orang utan to a safer habitat. From 2010 to 2020, it saved 61 orang utan.

WRU conservation manager Ahmad Shahdan Kasim said they were also developing biodiversity-friendly plantations, incorporating a high conservation value approach to a major part of the palm oil industry.

The programme’s strategic partners include Zoo Negara, FGV Holdings Bhd, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation.

Also present at the event was Zoo Negara deputy president Rosly@Rahmat Ahmat Lana.

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