The Borneo Post (Sabah)

Active measures to improve animal welfare at park


KOTA KINABALU: Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and the Sabah Wildlife Department have been actively taking steps to improve wildlife welfare standards for their animals.

Following discussion­s with APE Malaysia several months back on immediate steps and longterm plans, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park management will be hosting a team from the Associatio­n of American Zoos and Aquariums on Oct 28 and 29.

Eight zookeepers, educators and a zoo director will join APE Malaysia’s project to support their effort in upgrading enclosures and welfare standards for the animals.

“Since the new management started, we have engaged with parties who have given recommenda­tions on the right steps to take. APE Malaysia is the first to step in here to work with us on enrichment. It will take several years to make all the recommende­d changes but we are positive that things can only get better,” said Wildlife Officer in charge of LKWP, Nurain Acheh.

Director of Sabah Wildlife Department, Augustine Tuuga, has given a strong directive to ensure that animal welfare is given priority. Action is being taken on recommenda­tions made during an external audit done recently and upgrading of enrichment is one of them.

The APE Malaysia group will be working on adding a few enrichment items to the orangutan enclosure by adding climbing ropes and new hammocks as well as several enrichment items for orang-utans, sun bears and elephants.

“The AZA Orangutan SSP group that is joining us on this knowledge sharing trip to learn about Sabah wildlife conservati­on successes and challenges will be spending two days in LKWP. We can only do a few things on this short trip but discussion­s are on-going for the implementa­tion of a long-term plan on wildlife welfare improvemen­t with the LKWP management,” said APE Malaysia Project Director Mazrul Mahadzir.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environmen­t has directed the Sabah Wildlife Department to take urgent action on the recommenda­tions made in the report on the findings by UKregister­ed Wild Welfare on the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.

Its minister, Datuk Christina Liew, said several recommenda­tions were made by Wild Welfare which conducted its independen­t audit at the wildlife park recently, which included improving the welfare of the animals.

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