Orang Utan island cut off by low water level


BAGAN SERAI: The Orang Utan Island Foundation is asking the Perak state government to deepen the dam at Bukit Merah Lake to ensure that the tourism industry in the area is not affected during the hot and dry season.

Its chief operating officer Dr D. Sabapathy said three boats could not operate to bring visitors to the island because of the drop in water level at Bukit Merah Lake.

Orang Utan Island has been closed temporarily since April 11, Dr Sabapathy said.

He said the management had to use three kayaks, which could only be used by six workers at each time, to go to Pulau Orang Utan.

“We have to send food supplies and piped water every day for the requirement of the 24 orangutan on the island by using the kayaks which take two hours to reach the destination.

“The orang utan can only be given piped water to drink because water from the lake is unsuitable and can affect their health,” he said.

The three boats used to ferry visitors to Pulau Orang Utan were left stranded at the Pulau Orang Utan jetty.

The current water level at the Tasik Bukit Merah Dam is 6.10 meters compared with 6.15 meters yesterday and the drop was due to the hot weather caused by the El Nino phenomenon. The normal water level at the dam is 8.68 meters.

A research officer at Pulau Orang Utan, Helmy Mohd Juli, said each orangutan was given food three times a day with the average food for each animal being three to six kilograms.

“The food supply including fruits for the orang utan is estimated to be about 1,000 kg per week,” he said.