Warrior monkeys fight for wildlife
KINABATANGAN: Efforts continue to fit proboscis monkeys with satellite tags in Sukau to determine an adequate amount of habitat available that can sustain a continuous and viable population in the Kinabatangan region.
The Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) recently captured two male proboscis monkeys and fitted them with the satellite tags near Sukau.
The two animals were collared in the Menanggul tributary and Kinabatangan River near Sukau, weighing 23 and 19 kilos respectively.
“They were named Monso, short for Monsopiad who was a Kadazandusun warrior and a famous headhunter, and Gambu which is short for Gambunan who was a Dusun group leader from Tambunan,” explained Jibius Dausip, from the Wildlife Rescue Unit and expert darter of the team.
Danica Stark, PhD student at Cardiff University and DGFC said the aim of the satellite tagging programme is to understand the ranging patterns of proboscis monkeys and the factors impacting their movements and density.
“As the collars record locations automatically, it is collecting movement data that is completely natural and not influenced by human presence,” added Danica.
“Moreover, the collars are set with a drop-off and therefore the monkeys will not wear them forever; the drop-off is set to release the unit after 52 weeks,” she explained.
The project is funded by Sime Darby Foundation (Malaysia) and Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation (USA).
“The support for the palm oil industry is extremely important. Yes, mistakes have been made in the past, like in every country in the world during their economic development but it is never too late to realise where we have been wrong and I believe that in Sabah the industry, the government, NGOs, wildlife conservationists and local communities can work together to make a better environment for our wildlife,” said Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of DGFC.
“The day I’ll stop believing that, and then I’ll have lost the sense of my life,” he added.
Dr Laurentius Ambu, director of the Sabah Wildlife Department said the project is extremely important for the conservation of the proboscis monkeys in Sabah.
“One of the main outputs of the programme will be the first State Action Plan for the species and its launching at an international workshop on the conservation of proboscis monkeys in Borneo that will be organised in Kota Kinabalu in two to three years,” he said.
|New Sabah Times|