Friday, July 13, 2018

Good News About Sabah Wildlife

Rosa, a 16-year-old female orangutan is now the happy mother of a beautiful and healthy female baby which she delivered on 26 May 2018. Picture courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department 

Good news about Sabah wildlife – for a change.

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre located about 25 kilometres west of Sandakan in the state of Sabah welcomed the birth of three newborn baby orangutans in the last three weeks. 

All three were birthed by orangutans that had arrived here as young orphans, successfully acquiring forest skills through the rehabilitation program at Sepilok and returning back into the forest. 

Orangutans (Scientific name: Pongo) are known to have the slowest life history when compared to other mammals, a factor contributing to their threatened condition in the wild. 

The population requires decades to recover to normal due to a slow reproductive rate and declining numbers. 

Female orangutans only start reproducing at the ages of eight to nine. The babies are weaned between three to six years but will stay with their mother for as long as nine years. 

This binds the mother-baby relationship and allows the baby to acquire survival and life skills from the mother. 

Most of the orangutans brought to Sepilok are young orphans that have lost their mothers and are unable to survive on their own. It is these survival skills that Sepilok develops in them through the rehabilitation program. 

Sepilok has about more than 18 reproductive females and a history of more than 40 wild born babies with second and third generations. 

The happy news came amidst another Borneo pygmy elephant’s death on Wednesday – a d before that, two elephants had perished at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in May/June. 

The pachyderm named "Sapa" was rescued from the Sapagaya Waterfall near the Danum Valley forest reserve on June 01, 2018. It was found with two rope snares bound tightly around its front legs with deep wounds.

Pix from The Star Online, July 12, 2018 

The injured elephant was brought to the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary in Kinabatangan under the care of the Sabah Wildlife Department, where it had been supposedly recuperating and responding well to treatments. 

A Sabah-based wildlife conservationist said snare traps for wildlife are deadlier than bullets, as they are cheap, easy to get and silent. 

Almost anyone can get or make the traps, he said. 

And he added, though the poacher who set the traps may aim for other animals such as wild boars, larger creatures including elephants can still be victims and die a long, agonizing death.

A post mortem is being conducted on the elephant.

As for the two earlier deaths – one was an adolescent elephant rescued 13 years ago from the Lahad Datu's Yapid plantation and the other was a four-year-old calf. They died on June 27 and May 07 respectively.

Pix from The Star Online, June 29, 2018

It is all the more worrisome because at least seven elephants in the Sabah wild have also died due to unknown causes in April and May this year. 

These deaths had prompted Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal to call on wildlife officials to investigate thoroughly the cause as well as take serious steps in stopping the deaths of the critically endangered elephants. 

Please give special attention to the Borneo pygmy elephant (Scientific name: Elephas maximus borneensis)!

This Sunday, the World Cup showdown between France and Croatia: 

Viva la France!

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