Research Article

Translocation of pocketed orang-utans in Sabah

Patrick Mahedi Andaua1, Lim Khun Hionga1 and John B. Salea1 p1

a1 Sabah Wildlife Department, 5th Floor, Block B, Wisma Muis, 88400, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.


Sabah is faced with a problem of small groups of orang-utans isolated from their parent populations in fragments of secondary forest, mainly on oil-palm plantations. The Wildlife Department has recently captured 84 such animals in three locations and translocated most of them to Tabin Wildlife Reserve, which already has a low-density population of orang-utans. The majority of animals were captured by drug immobilization, using a 5:1 ketamine/xylazine mixture at a mean dosage of 8.47 mg/kg body weight (range 3.76–22.64 mg/kg). This proved an effective and safe method. Others, mainly immatures, were captured manually. Few injuries or other problems were encountered. The cost of the rescue operations was $US175 per animal. A satisfactory way of monitoring the released orangutans is under development.


p1 Present address: 4 Waterperry Oxford OX33 1LD, UK.