Orang utan and oil palm
Sarawak’s policies for conservation and economic growth are well planned and carried out systemically.
The Wildlife Masterplan 1996 guides the state government in balancing the need for conservation of wildlife and natural resources, with the need for economic and social development. It is committed to a policy that allows for land development for agriculture (including oil palm), as well as forest protection and conservation.
Currently, there are 30 national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and 10 nature reserves covering 602,035.8 ha (excluding bodies of water). This clearly shows the extent of the state government’s commitment in ensuring that natural habitats and the ecosystem are conserved.
Since the establishment of Bako National Park in 1957, Sarawak has continuously extended the areas under conservation and protection, by creating national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. The intention is to increase the size of TPAs to 1 million ha by 2020.
There is no conflict between oil palm development and orang utan habitats in Sarawak. This has been ensured by strategic planning and management of natural resources and land. Orang utan populations live in areas that have been gazetted as conservation areas. Oil palm plantations are located in other rural areas.
Allegations that palm oil from Sarawak ‘endangers’ orang utan habitats are therefore without foundation. The state government’s commitment to conservation is clear, and it has the support of the Sarawak palm oil industry.
Concrete plans are in place to ensure that this commitment is implemented. This is the Sarawak model of conservation and sustainable development.
Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association
This is an edited version of a press statement.