Breakthrough as plantation workers jailed for killing orangutan

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Conservationists in Sabah in Malaysia are celebrating a breakthrough sentence which has seen two palm oil plantation workers jailed for two years for killing an orangutan. The Sabah Wildlife Department have also described the sentence as a ‘landmark decision’.

The two workers pleaded guilty to killing the great ape with a parang – or machete type knife – at Felda Sahabat on 29 January 2014. They claimed they killed the orangutan because it had damaged palm oil plants.

The Sabah Wildlife Department disputed this and said the workers were poaching the animal for the bush meat trade.

Assistant director Dr Sen Nathan from the department said that there was a local demand for bush meat of all types.

The Borneo orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is classified as endangered and numbers are thought to have fallen on the island by about 50% in the last 60 years.

The Bornean orangutan is endemic to the island of Borneo where it

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