Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa sponsored and handed a fully modified four wheel drive Toyota Hilux to Sabah Wildlife Department at the resort’s Nature Reserve today for their wildlife rescue unit (WRU) that was witnessed by Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, Assistant Minister for the Ministryof Tourism, Culture and Environment and key personnel from NGOs and MNCs.
According to the director of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Dr Laurentius Ambu, the WRU is a brainchild between himself and his assistant director Dr Sen Nathan. The unit was formed 3 years ago in June 2010 on an urgent need to address pertinent wildlife conservation issues that Sabah is facing today as there was not enough manpower or funding for the department to deal with all the wildlife conservation issues in Sabah.
As of October 2013, the WRU has rescued and/or translocated more than 47 Bornean elephant adults and calves, 28 Bornean orang-utans adults and 5 babies, 20 proboscis monkeys, 16 estuarine crocodiles, 13 Malayan sun bears, 450 macaques between long and pig tail macaques, 26 sambar deers, and other wildlife such as snakes, small carnivores, slow loris and gibbons; porcupine, wild boar, marine mammals and sea turtles.
‘As part of the resort’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Nature Interpretation Centre (NIC) has been working closely with SWD for nearly 2 decades since 1996 in its Orang Utan Rehabilitation and Conservation Program. They provide the necessary care and implementation for the first phase of the program at the nature reserve to the young orang utans for approximately 4-5 years before they are being transferred to Sepilok Orang Utan Conservation Centre for their next phase of the program’, said the General Manager of Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Randy Zupanski.
‘Up till today, 39 young orang utans have completed the rehabilitation programme at the nature reserve and we have successfully educated nearly 10,000 school children and students from higher learning institutions.
Over the years, 11969 visitors who are mainly guests of this resort have been awed by these gentle creatures and at the same time educated on their survival’ Randy added.
Speaking on CSR programmes, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, the Assistant Minister for the Ministryof Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah said he would like to see more corporate sponsorship through their CSR programs to fund and sponsor the wildlife conservation related activities in Sabah.
‘I now challenge these big companies to step into the arena and work with us as partners in conserving wildlife in Sabah as I do believe that it would be a win- win situation for all parties’ he said.
‘I was told by the Sabah Wildlife Department that beside the latest activity of setting up the Wildlife Health Unit with EcoHealth Alliance, there are now plans to set up a Rapid Response Wildlife Enforcement Unit that will be seriously addressing illegal wildlife poaching and killings in the state of Sabah and there is an urgent need of at least 5 fully modified 4wd vehicles such as the this one being handed over today’ he further stressed.