Elephant Sanctuary to Open Soon

PHASE ONE: Sabah centre will treat animals and conduct awareness activities

KOTA KINABALU: THE first phase of the elephant sanctuary in Kinabatangan here will be opened in September, lifting hopes for the survival of the species in Sabah.

The opening phase of the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary was recently completed with a handling paddock, staff quarters and a store built at a cost of RM1.8 million.

Initiated by the Sabah Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisation Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT), the centre will serve as a rescue and treatment centre for injured or displaced elephants, as well as for conducting awareness programmes and activities.

This will be followed by the second phase, which will cost RM5.2 million, to develop a 25ha plot in the sanctuary. A forested area has also been identified for rehabilitated elephants to be released into.

Both were part of the Elephant Conservation Action Plan that will see a bigger area turned into a full-fledged sanctuary measuring more than 1,200ha, which will cost up to RM30 million to establish.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the first two phases of the programme could cater to between 12 and 16 elephants.

“Injured elephants will be treated at this centre before being released into forests and wildlife reserves. Other wildlife will be accepted and treated at this sanctuary, such as sun bears, proboscis monkeys, orangutan, clouded leopards and banteng.”

BCT conservation and research head Raymond Alfred said the first phase of the project was financially aided by BCT Japan, Asahiyama Zoo, Saraya, Hunting World, Tokio Marine, NTT Data Kirin, Taiseh and Yusen Logistics. Phase two is aided by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

Source : New Straits Times 

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