Saturday, January 05, 2013

New master plan to spruce up Lok Kawi Wildlife Park soon

LOK KAWI: The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park here is coming up with a new master plan to boost visitors’ arrival to the park and turn it into a world class venue.

A provision of RM500,000 has been allocated for the park to come up with a masterplan that should be ready within the next six months, after which, it will be presented to the State cabinet for its approval to implement this year.

“We really need to totally revamp the park and we hope that the new masterplan will give us a new sense of direction and plan,” said Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) senior veterinarian, Dr Sen Nathan to the Borneo Post and Utusan Borneo when visited at his office yesterday.

He enlightened the reporters that the park was still not making profit – its expenditure per annum stood at RM8 million while the returns generated were just RM1.6 million to RM2 million per annum.

“That is why we need to increase our income and make the operation more profitable,” he said.

The park, which is under the management of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), has been receiving a steady flow of visitors since it was established in 2007.

In 2007, the park received 140,000 visitors. The number rose to 214,000 in 2008 and dropped to 148,000 in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 respectively, the total number of arrivals to the park were 176,000 and 170,000 respectively.

Of the total, less than 20 percent were foreign visitors, said Dr Sen.

“We are aiming for half a million visitors per year and we hope this will be made possible once the new masterplan is implemented,” he said.

Among others, the new masterplan will include streamlining of the park’s management and staffing. It will also look into animal procurement besides doing away with many dated exhibits of old designs that were not in accordance with world standards. Aside from that, the masterplan will also address the marketing and promotional efforts of the park.

He added that they would be concentrating on the endemic species in Sabah, comprising of its 10 primates, of which the orangutans and proboscis monkeys were part of.

“We will also feature our three large mammals — the tembadau, the pygmy elephant and hopefully, the Sumatran rhinocerous…we shall also feature our five different species of cats like the clouded leopard and our smaller mammals such as the civets…these are our species, so we have to make sure we showcase them,” he said.

Aside from local species, the park will also endevour to procure exotic species such as lions, giraffes and zebras, he said.