Published: Sunday October 17, 2010 MYT 1:02:00 PM
Rope bridge for orang utan to reconnect
By MUGUNTAN VANAR
KOTA KINABALU: A new orang utan rope bridge has been created in the Lower Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary to allow primates living within the fragmented forests to reconnect with each other.
The 40m-long rope bridge, made of fire hoses, was set up across Sungai Takala, a tributary of Sungai Kinabatangan in another effort by local and international conservationists to ensure that orang utans trapped in fragmented forests do not go extinct.
The teams involved took three days to complete the project.
The project, by the Sabah Wildlife Department, the HUTAN non-governmental organisation and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) was funded by Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) Japan and expertise from Ropeskills Rigging Sdn Bhd.
“Genetic studies, which were carried out in the Lower Kinabatangan forest fragments, showed that orang utans would be extinct within our lifetime if they are not reconnected through schemes like the rope bridges,” Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said.
DGFC director Dr Benoit Goosens said the rope bridges were important in efforts to stop in-breeding among orang utans within the fragmented forests.
The project was initiated by the Kinabatangan Orang utan Conservation Project seven years ago.
Goosens said similar bridges will be set up at tributaries in the vicinity of DGFC following a survey carried out by HUTAN last year which identified sites suitable for bridge construction to alleviate the issues of orang utan population fragmentation.
Ropeskills Rigging Sdn Bhd operations director Simon Amos who supervised the construction of the rope bridge.