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My Cardiff

Professor Mike Bruford

Professor Mike Bruford research is helping to conserve species such as orang-utans and to protect their habitats.…

Professor Mike Bruford

Professor Mike Bruford

Our Cardiff team is working in Borneo to finalise plans to conserve the orang-utans on the reserve and protect their habitats. In collaboration with the Sabah Wildlife Department we are establishing a research and training centre in the sanctuary which will accept its first cohort of students in July.

The Kinabatangan is one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in Sabah. It features large areas of oil palm plantation which was planted after the rainforest was extracted for timber in the 1960s and 1970s. Only small patches of rainforest on either side of the river remain, surrounded by plantations that are of little use to the animals as far as we can tell at the moment.

A male Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii)

A male Sumatran orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus abelii)

Recently we went to a village and a man said 'would you like to see an orang-utan?' We thought he might have captured one. What he meant was, I've got one in my back garden. Just 15 metres away, we saw a male orang-utan swinging in the trees with the discarded husks of his fruit lunch dropping on to the toilet below.

This type of problem in the rainforest is something we will increasingly face so it is important to work in such places.

The remaining population of orang-utans in Sabah is a very small fraction of what originally existed, and more importantly, if the decline continues the population will be extinct within a few decades We are working with the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project and the Universiti Malaysia, Sabah to set up an effective conservation programme. The field centre will enable us to better study the orang-utans and Bornean Elephants and many other organisms which also live in the rainforest.

Professor Mike Bruford, Cardiff School of Biosciences has been studying elephants and orang-utans in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Borneo, for several years. The rainforest where both species live has been damaged by logging and the growth of oil palm plantations. His team has been working with the authorities in Sabah on conservation projects for many years and plan to open a field centre along with the Sabah Wildlife Department later this year.

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