KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has rubbished a foreign media report claiming that 6,100 orangutans were killed in Sabah between 1999 and 2015.
Its director, Augustine Tuuga, in a statement here today, said the report was baseless because it was based on a research finding without hard facts and evidence produced by three scientists based in Sabah.
He said research findings published in the PLOS journal in 2004 estimated the orangutan population in Sabah at 11,000.
At the time of the study, 60% of the orangutan population in the state was believed to be outside of the protected areas.
He added based on that research finding, the state government took serious efforts to enhance protection of the orangutan population in Sabah by declaring and gazetting more and bigger protected areas.
He was responding to foreign media reports, based on the Current Biology journal, authored by Maria Voigt and co-authored, among others, by Dr Marc Ancrenaz of Hutan, who is based in Sukau, Kinabatangan, and Dr Benoit Goossens, director of the Danau Girang Field Centre.