Monday, February 01, 2016

Orangutan rehab centre by Sabah Wildlife and Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department and Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu announced they are nearing the completion of the successful jointly-managed Orangutan Rehabilitation and Conservation Programme – a support programme of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre of the Sabah Wildlife Department.

Launched in 1996, Shangri-La’s Orangutan Care Project provides specialist care for orphaned orangutans in a sanctuary located within the resort’s private 64-acre Nature Reserve.

Over the course of nearly 20 years, 43 orphaned orangutans have successfully completed the first phase of their rehabilitation under the care of trained rangers in the Nature Reserve before moving to the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Once the orangutans complete the reintegration programme at Sepilok, they will be released into the adjacent Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve.

All remaining orangutans at Rasa Ria’s Nature Reserve will be relocated to Sepilok by April. In addition to orangutan rehabilitation, the resort’s programme provides a platform for education on wildlife conservation to school children and the general public based on the West Coast of Sabah.

“Over the past two decades there have been extensive efforts to educate the public and increase awareness and understanding of the plight of these endangered primates”, said Jonathan Reynolds, general manager of Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have been able to bring close to 12,000 students from 276 schools in Sabah to see our Orangutan Care project so they could gain a better understanding of how precious the endangered orangutans are and the urgent need to protect them.”

Through its conservation activities, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa has funded many joint conservation programme and initiatives with Sabah Wildlife Department.

The long road of rehabilitating orangutans for reintroduction into the wild takes up to seven years. Over its 50 years of operation, Sepilok has registered 758 individual orphaned or confiscated orangutans. Sabah Wildlife Department Director William Baya said that there has been significant reduction in the number of orangutan admitted to Sepilok over the past 10 years, with only a handful of orphans coming into Sepilok for the past three years.

“We are very very happy with the wonderful partnership that Sabah Wildlife Department has forged with Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa for the past 20 years, helping Orangutan Conservation by increasing awareness to the plight of the orangutan in Sabah to Sabahans and our overseas visitors as well.