KOTA KINABALU - The communities here have been urged to help the state authorities in protecting the orang utan.
"Sabah is a very big area. We cannot have enforcement officers everywhere. We need the people to play a role in the conservation of orang utan," said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
Referring to last Wednesday's incident in which an adult male orang utan was found stabbed at an oil palm plantation, Masidi said local communities must also make an effort in wildlife conservation.
"We have so few orang utan left. All of us have a role to play to protect the orang utan," he said at the Hari Raya open house of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and Cabinet members yesterday.
Conservationists estimate that the number of orang utan surviving in Sabah number about 11,000 to 15,000.
The injured orang utan, which suffered multiple stab wounds, is under the care of veterinarians at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said the 20-year-old primate was responding to treatment and was now eating on his own.
"He is still not out of the woods. He was stabilised before our team dealt with the 7cm-deep stab wound on his arm," he said, adding that the head injuries were not as serious as initially thought.
The Sabah Wildlife Department is carrying out an investigation into the attack that might have occurred elsewhere in the area before the primate was discovered by workers at the oil palm estate.
The orang utan is listed as a totally protected and an endangered species under the Wildlife Conservation Act.