Life Malaysian orang-utans declared free from COVID-19

Malaysian orang-utans declared free from COVID-19

Thirty orangutans at a Malaysian wildlife park have been cleared of having coronavirus. Photo: Getty
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Thirty of Malaysia’s iconic orang-utans have been given the coronavirus all-clear after staff at a wildlife park and rehabilitation centre tested positive, prompting concerns for the increasingly rare great apes.

“Some of the keepers came up positive, so we didn’t want to take any risks,” said Sen Nathan, assistant director at the Sabah Wildlife Department, which carried out the tests on its captive orang-utans last week.

“Thankfully here were no signs and symptoms among them,” Nathan said, referring to the orang-utans, a species listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In recent decades, swathes of the orang-utans’ jungle habitat has been cleared to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations in Sabah and Sarawak, two Malaysian regions on the island of Borneo, which it shares with Brunei and Indonesia.


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