The ape debate

Published: Sunday 15 February 2004

-- The survival of the orangutans seems to be the bone of contention between the World Wide Fund for Nature (wwf) and Malaysian environment experts. The uk chapter of wwf alleges that 91 per cent of the orangutan population in the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra has disappeared over the past century.

The Malaysian experts, in their defence, say the claim is unrealistic because it fails to take into account local conditions and ongoing conservation projects. Sabah, in Malaysia is home to over 13,000 apes, but conservation needs to be intensified in other places. The concern is over the slow reproductive cycle of the apes, since orangutans only have an average of eight years between births.

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