Habitat is being destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations
December 2011: Sabah's proboscis monkeys are suffering as the riparian forest on which they depend are destroyed to plant oil palm, and mangrove areas reclaimed for development.
‘The proboscis monkey is declining in numbers because we have oil palm plantations planting all the way down to the river edge and in areas closer to towns we have seen their habitat lost as the mangrove areas they occupy are reclaimed and built upon,' said director of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Dr Laurentius Ambu.
Only 6,000 proboscis monkeys are left
‘The oil palm industry does not have to plant all the way down to the river edge, they should leave the riparian forest with a buffer of preferably 1km for wildlife and also as a measure to protect our waterways for as the water is also ultimately used for human consumption,' he added.
Sabah had given much for oil palm production and, said Laurentius, it was now time for the industry to give back by replanting riparian areas in particular.
He also expressed his frustration that many areas unsuitable for oil palm plantation due to regular flooding were being planted with the crop then destroyed as they become submerged by water.
|SURVIVAL: A baby proboscis monkey. |
Picture: Rudi Delvaux
The SWD estimates that there are only 6,000 proboscis monkeys left, with five viable populations in Sabah .
‘We have one population on the West Coast, one in the South and three on the East Coast including the Lower Kinabatangan where oil palm has had a dramatic effect on a variety of Sabah wildlife including this large nosed monkey,' said Laurentius.
Conversion of small patches of forest for oil palm in the area has also seen the orang-utan population decline. Without these small patches of forest, wildlife is unable to disperse and mate nor have access to adequate food sources at times.
‘This is why we have been continuously pushing for forest corridors particularly along the riparian areas. They are crucial not just for primates but all wildlife particularly in the Lower Kinabatangan , which is heavily broken up between protected areas and non-protected areas,' said Laurentius.
Source: Wildlife News