KOTA KINABALU: The cost to feed the orphan Bornean elephants at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre has been eased with donation of 1,000kg of milk powder.
Following the increasing trend of orphaned Bornean elephants by being taken in by the Sabah Wildlife Department into the care centre, the biggest challenge faced by the government agency is to provide best husbandry care for the babies.
These baby elephants were rescued throughout the elephant habitat across the state by the Wildlife Rescue Unit. Currently these orphans are being cared for in the Elephant Care Unit, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) through the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) also has been working hard to reach out to the corporate bodies for possible collaboration in assisting the department to fund for daily care and feeding of the babies.
“Last year, WRU in association with the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species (RAGES) has been investigating the best milk powder food option for the endangered orphan Bornean elephants. A few products were tested during the trials. After the trials, it was decided that the Unit is going to use Fonterra milk as the main product to feed the baby elephants,” said Dr Diana Ramirez, acting manager of WRU.
The first shipment came last year with initial donation by BCT-Japan towards the cost of purchasing 1.2 tons of milk powder from Fonterra New Zealand.
And after seven months, Fonterra and RAGES continued their support towards the plight of Bornean elephants through the second shipment of one tonne of milk formula directly from New Zealand. The milk powder arrived at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on July 25 and sent to Sepilok. This will help to feed the orphaned elephants for the next six months and saving the department up to RM100,000 on the feed cost. All were made possible by continuous support of South East Asia RAGES’ Project Director, Debbie Mair.
“We at RAGES-SE Asia are committed to preserving and investing in the conservation of the endangered Bornean elephants and at the same time through the collaboration to boost eco-tourism and boost economic growth,” said Debbie.