The Malaysian state of Sabah is home to around 11,000 of these orangutans, a significant percentage of which reside in the Kinabatangan Floodplain which is under intense pressure due to habitat fragmentation and deforestation for agriculture, namely oil palm production.
The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is an area of exceptional biodiversity and its protection is key to the future survival of many other species including the endemic proboscis monkey, Bornean elephant and hundreds of endemic birds.
Working alongside conservation organisation HUTAN, our support for the various projects in the region approach conservation holistically, combining scientific research with education and protection and management of wildlife habitat. Local communities are heavily involved in project activities, with the ultimate aim of providing sustainable solutions for the long term survival of orangutans and the people who live alongside them. To this end, employment of local community members in the project and education staff has continued to be a focus of our support.
Connecting the fragmented habitat is a long term goal, and strategies so far have included the reforestation of sites and the erection of orangutan bridges to facilitate movement of primates around the sanctuary. Eight species of hornbill inhabit the Kinabatangan region and research is ongoing into the ecology of these species following an initial rapid assessment of the hornbill population in 2012.
Artificial nest boxes have been constructed and erected and are currently being trialled in the forest; data on their use will be used to guide further developments into this project. Our support extends to a health advisory role for wildlife disease and biosecurity protocols.