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Wildlife Park May Move To Sugud
Dr Rosa gestures as she speaks about the elephants at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, yesterday.
July 14th, 2017 | 08:40 AM | 2196 views
The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park will probably be shifted to Sugud in Penampang, but the proposed move is subject to the approval of the district office and feedback from the surrounding communities as well as allocation from the government, said Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga yesterday.
He cited the limited space at the park’s present site as the main reason for shifting, saying that although the Lok Kawi site covers an area of 280 acres, only 70 acres were utilised as the remaining were hilly terrains which also served as water catchment areas for the surrounding communities. The area in Sugud is about 2,000 acres.
A meeting had been held and that the proposal to shift the wildlife park came about two years ago, Augustine told reporters during a tour of the wildlife park yesterday following negative feedback concerning the condition of the animals and birds at the wildlife park.
With regard to negative allegations that had been made viral on the social media, Augustine viewed some of them as an exaggeration.
“We accept criticism. If they can properly channel the comments to us we can accept it … but some of the comments were too much for us to accept, hence we called you (reporters) here to see for yourself. We feel not all that has been said is true,” he told those present.
He said that the department decided against answering the allegations one by one and opted instead to bring members of the media to see for themselves the situation at the park.
The tour and explanation were carried out by the park’s veterinary and officer-in-charge, Dr Rosa Sipangkui.
Dr Rosa explained to reporters that the department had spent about RM4.5 million on animal food, supplements, medicine and other itineraries per year at the park.
“The amount is sufficient for the animals.”
She said the largest portion of the allocation on food was spent on the pygmy elephants, 15 altogether.
She explained that not all the elephants were brought out at once and that the present group that was out were from the Tansau group which consisted of some adult elephants and several juveniles.
Reporters were then brought to see the sunbear, Diego, who was lazing about in a modified culvert.
Dr Rosa explained that sunbears were fed with rice mixed with a bit of dog food and a lot of fruits.
After that, reporters visited the tiger enclosure where only one solitary tiger was showcased.
This allegation issue was raised in the social media, drawing some negative remarks from some members of the public.
Dr Rosa explained that there were actually three tigers at the park and that they were kept apart because they were siblings and the park did not want inbreeding to occur.
“Inbreeding will cause genetic defects,” she said.
Next on the list of the tour was the orangutan section. Dr Rosa explained that the orangutans that were kept there served as ambassadors and were once owned and kept by human beings.
One of the orangutans, Marsha, was kept by a plantation owner who showered her with Pantene, fed her with rice, milk and milo.
“She thought that she was a human being and refused to interact with other orangutans. During rehabilitation, we tried to bring her further and further into the jungle but she refused to let go of the ranger so after two to three years of trying to rehabilitate her, we decided to stop and brought her here. We won’t force if they don’t want to go back to the forest because they will become stressed and die,” said Dr Rosa.
At her new confine, Marsha is mixing well with the other orangutans who were also once kept by human beings, said Dr Rosa.
With regard to allegations of animals dying at the park, Dr Rosa explained each of the cases.
She said that some of the animals brought into the zoo were surrendered by their owners, mostly expatriates.
“Due to stress and depression, some of these surrendered animals, including birds, refuse food and hence do not make it,¡¨ she explained.
“Most of those that died were from privately owned or sent voluntarily to the zoo. Once they are here, they become ours and their death becomes ours too,” she said.
However, the allegations that among the dead were proboscis monkeys were not true, she said.
“There had been no incidents of proboscis monkeys” death since the start of this year,” she said.
As for the claim of an orangutan dying, Dr Rosa explained that the orangutan suffered from Melioidosis, a contagious condition caused by bacterial infection.
The orangutan that suffered this condition was a young male and has since succumbed to the illness.
She added that the disease could also be transmitted to humans, but so far none of the zoo keepers tested positive for the disease.
She said that the orangutan had been kept away from other apes to stop the spread of the disease.
With regard to the death of a clouded leopard, Dr Rosa explained that “Ruby” had a heart and late stage kidney problem.
She said that during a post-mortem, her kidney was already liquified
courtesy of THE BORNEO POST
by Jenne Lajiun
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