News & Updates

National Day cheer at Lahad Datu market

LAHAD DATU: Traders have started hanging the Jalur Gemilang and state flags at the market here to celebrate the National Day.

Assistant market administrator of the Lahad Datu district council Rusli Tahir said the move was also meant to counter the negative image of the town, which has been associated with terrorist attacks.

“Under the current government, the country, specifically Sabah and Lahad Datu, is safe.

“By putting up the flags at the market, we want to send out a positive image that our country is independent and Lahad Datu is safe from terrorism,” he said.

He said the market was the best place to create positivity and instil patriotism among the people as it was a hub of activity.

Trader Ismawati Abdul Salleh, 25, said this was the first time they were putting up flags at the market.

Nurhadi Nurdin, 48, said the flags livened the mood in the market, making it more cheery. — Bernama

Source: The Star

Sabah looking at sole operator to manage Wetlands tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is looking into having a sole operator managing tourism products at the state’s wetlands.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 tourists daily are visiting Klias and Weston wetlands known for their proboscis monkeys and fireflies.

“The number of tourists could double to 4,000 people daily in the future.

“If we have a single entity doing the operation, we are in better position to better manage the place,” he said, adding the population of wildlife might be affected if there was no proper tourism planning in the two areas.

He was speaking after the launch of the inaugural Sabah Elephant Film Festival 2017 here this morning.

Pang said the state government would discuss with non-governmental organisations in formulating policy and guidelines to ensure there is balance between tourism and preserving the environment.

He anticipates a lot of objections in having only a sole operator to manage Klias and Weston wetlands.

Also present were World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia (WWF) executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga and Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goosens.

Dionysius said the festival, which showcased seven films at National Department for Culture and Arts complex here, meant to educate about elephants and its importance to keep the forests healthy.

Based on a study done by WWF in late 2000s, it is estimated that there may be less than 1,500 Borneon elephants left in Sabah.

Source: New Straits Times

Sabah’s wildlife rangers to be in focus in season 2 of Borneo Wildlife Warriors

KOTA KINABALU: Following a positive reception, Borneo Wildlife Warriors – an online series focusing on Sabah’s wildlife rangers – will premier its second season next week.

Kick starting August 16, the weekly web-series brought by leading south east Asia’s production and photography company Scubazoo will feature efforts to care and rescue sun bears, Bornean pygmy elephants and orangutans at Sabah’s east coast this time.

The new six-episode series will continue featuring award-winning British journalist and presenter Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski who hosted the first series, picking up from his bootcamp at Sabah west coast’s operations (Lok Kawi Wildlife Park) and moving to more intense activities while based at Sepilok in Sandakan.

“When I tell people back home that I rescued elephants, they said ‘woah’ – they think it is so much fun.

“But it is not; it is hard work and this second season we will go out on more extreme activities like catching and relocating a bull elephant.

“After spending a decade in Africa and coming to Asia, I can say this is the single most hard core thing I had to do,” Bertie shared on his experience while making the series during a press conference here.

It gave him a glimpse of how hard life is for wildlife rangers where they spent a week chasing after and catching the bull elephant trapped inside a large plantation, which he described as an intelligent animal that ‘kept darting away from us’.

“Once, we got separated from the group and got lost for 12 hours in the jungle with no phone for communication or food.

“The best part after our operation is done and we came back exhausted, we were asked to go out again to get an orangutan and its baby trapped and malnourished in another palm oil plantation,” he added.

Asked if he would do it all over again given the chance, Bertie replied in a definite yes – which echoes the tagline of the series, ‘Because the Jungle is Worth Fighting For’.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu-based Scubazoo operations director Terence Lim said they are looking for local presenters with a passion for wildlife and story telling that could do hosting jobs like Bertie.

“It would be great if we have a local ‘Bertie’ who could highlight our own conservation efforts and we welcomed those interested (to contact us),’ he added.

Source: New Straits Times

Catch online Borneo Wildlife Warriors series

KOTA KINABALU: There are no scripts, no actors and certainly no props. There are only real people with the penchant to rescue wild animals which are in trouble.

The online series, Borneo Wildlife Warriors (BWW) is back for the second season.

According to Scubazoo TV (SZtv’s) presenter, Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski, the new season will have six weekly web episodes premiering this coming Wednesday.

“The new season will feature sun bears, elephants, orangutans and more by focusing on breath-taking rescues and relocations,” he said.

Bertie who is the in-house presenter for SZtv, had also hosted the Borneo Jungle Diaries which offer 10 episodes.

“This BWW is a series of continuous effort that concentrate on the rescue unit in protecting the wildlife.

“All six episodes are dedicated to Sepilok and the sun bears, Bornean elephants, bull elephants relocation which is in two episodes (Part 1 and Part 2), mother and baby orangutans rescue, mother and baby orangutans release which will be in the last episode (of BWW Season 2),” Bertie said.

Bertie said as a wildlife photojournalist, as well as a Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) ranger, he faces “the real adventure” by investigating the threats posed by deforestation, the illegal pet trade and human-wildlife conflict.

Head of WRU, Dr. Sen Nathan said the series shows the behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in WRU rescues. “It’s basically a reality show on our wildlife rescues and it also portrays the many wonderful characters within WRU whose members’ great deeds and heroic attempts in saving Sabah wildlife,” he said.

Acting manager for WRU, Dr. Diana A. Ramirez Saldivar said WRU are the elite group of vets and rangers who deal with human-animal conflict and for the BWW Season 2, they are tasked with saving Borneo’s wildlife.

“WRU is ready round the clock, 365 days a year to deal with human-animal conflict,” she said.

Dr. Diana said WRU is a special unit that is created and fully founded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). It was launched in May 2010 with the task of rescuing and trans-locating distressed wildlife found within the Sabah landscape.

WRU now has 18 rangers and four veterinarians, said Dr. Diana during the press conference yesterday.

Source: New Sabah Times

Orang asli take to the streets to mark day for indigenous people

KENINGAU: Indigenous people from around Malaysia gathered on the streets here for a walk to mark International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Almost all of Malaysia’s indigenous ethnic groups were represented among the 350-strong crowd, who chanted slogans and sang anthems as they marched.

The procession started from the Oath Stone at the Keningau District Office and ended at the Keningau Diocese about 3km away.

The Oath Stone is a monument built to commemorate the terms under which Sabah, together with Sarawak, joined Malaya to form Malaysia.

“We decided to march as a symbolic show of our community’s struggle,” said Beverly Joeman, secretariat director of Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS), the organisers of the event.

“And to start the march from the Oath Stone makes it all the more meaningful.”

One of the terms inscribed on the Oath Stone guarantees that the traditional customs of Sabahans will be protected and respected. And, in turn, Sabahans will pledge their loyalty to the Government.

There was a festive mood throughout the march as police and Rela members helped direct traffic.

At the end of the march, a celebration was held at Keningau Diocese’s Solidarity Hall.

It featured cultural performances, traditional sports, traditional food, as well as the unveiling of three traditional knowledge-keepers representing the three regions of Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

The knowledge-keepers are elders in their own villages and will now be tasked with preserving the customs and traditional knowledge of their respective regions.

The focus of this year’s celebration is the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a landmark document acknowledging the unique challenges indigenous peoples face while outlining how governments should treat indigenous communities.

International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on Aug 9 every year.

The Star’s R.AGE team was there to document the celebration in collaboration with the young members of the JOAS media team.

It will be releasing short videos on the R.AGE Facebook page (fb.com/thestarRAGE) over the coming weeks.

Source: The Star