Sunday, January 23, 2011

Malaysia wants orang utans abroad to 'come home'

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia will help non-governmental organisations to bring back orang-utans from zoos abroad and rehabilitate them in their native environment in Sabah.
Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said that the government was keen to assist in the rescue of displaced orang utans currently placed in zoos in Europe and United Kingdom.
He said one obese orang utan named Oshine, highlighted by the international media, was rescued from a private owner in South Africa and was now being rehabilitated at Monkey World in Dorset, UK.
“It is being put on a diet in the centre as it had grown too fat and has apparently never seen another orang utan until it arrived at Monkey World,” he said during a dialogue with Sabah NGOs regarding issues pertaining to plantations.
“I told them (NGOs) this is one thing (rescuing orang utans) that they may want to do and the government will give all the assistance to help them get back the displaced apes,” he added.
He said there was no reason for the orang utans to suffer in the cold north European climate as there was ample space for orang utans in the forests of Sabah.
Weighing about 100kgs, Oshine, a 13-year-old orang utan, was raised by a South African couple who fed him marshmallows and other sweets.
It is now on a strict diet of of fruit, yoghurt, lean meat and vegetables in Monkey World.
According to news reports, Monkey World carers were working towards reducing Oshine’s weight to about 70kgs and teach it to be an orang utan again by letting it live next to baby orang utans. - theStar

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