Masidi Launches Borneo Elephant Sanctuary
The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun launched the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary at Lot 8, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (BES) on 19th September, 2013, which is the first of its kind in Sabah. It is intended to be a refuge for the endangered elephants.
Within the safe environment of this sanctuary, elephants that have been rescued from other areas and orphaned elephants will be cared for and rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. In addition to this, BES also has a programme to educate the public about conservation.
The Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said that the idea of developing an elephant sanctuary began in 2000, during the late Datuk Patrick @ Mahadi Andau's tenure as Wildlife Director.
"We are grateful to The Malaysian Palm Oil Council for being the prime founder of this conservation project, pledging RM5.2 million for the development of BES," said Laurentius.He further disclosed that a few other organisations also extended invaluable help, namely, the Borneo Conservation Trust Japan together with its partners, the Asahikawa City Municipal Government, Asahiyama Zoo, Saraya Corporation, Hunting World Japan, Tokio Marine Insurance Corporation, Kirin Beverage Corporation, Taisei Construction Corporation, Asta Corporation, IA Research Corporation, NTT Data Corporation, Teijin Corporation and Yusen Logistics Corporation.
These joint venture partners have funded the construction cost of the Phase 1 of BES, which amounts to RM1.6 million.According to Datuk Masidi Manjun, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment regarded the Bornean Elephant Sancturay as one of the strategies to support the Elephant Action Plan 2012-2016 of Sabah.
"We are confident that with the enthusiasm and continuous support of our conservation partners, we will be able to leave to posterity an abundant wildlife as living legacy of our care and concern for the wildlife that we have today," Masidi said. He also called on other big players in the Oil Palm Industry and Corporate bodies to join the conservation effort. He said Sabahans should feel embarrassed when people from as far away as Japan see the importance of protecting our elephants, whilst we here seem less concerned.