Sarawak, March 25: Just 20 kilometres from the south of Kuching lies a wildlife centre that acts as a home to wild orangutans.
Known as the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre it is the biggest orangutan rehabilitation centre in the state and is nestled in a larger natural forest called Semenggoh Nature Reserve.
Two months ago the centre welcomed the birth of a baby orangutan which is the fourth baby for Analisa who herself was born at the centre in 1996.
While the birth of a baby is always exciting news for the protection of orangutans, Semenggoh Nature Reserve has even more special news this year – the birth of two more orangutan babies, making three new orangutan additions this year – a first for the centre.
The centre also plays a vital role in protecting the biodiversity of Sarawak, by serving as a training area for orangutans.
For over 25 years, the wardens at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre have been training young orangutans, who had been orphaned or rescued from captivity and the training is to equip them on survival, i.e. how to survive in the wild.
Today, this wildlife centre has a thriving population of healthy adolescent and young adult semi-wild orangutans, now breeding in the nature reserve.
Semenggoh Nature Reserve still receives visits from its successful semi-wild breeding graduates and their babies.
They spend most of their time roaming the forest but during lean times, such as when the forests are low on fruits and edible plants, the orangutans do make their way back to the feeding platforms for supplementary meals.
In order to safeguard and sustain the amazing biodiversity in Sarawak’s forests, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has in place multiple programmes and initiatives to ensure that the flora and fauna of Sarawak remain protected.
Among the programmes to conserve the species include protecting its wild habitats in locations like Batang Ai National Park, Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sebuyau-Sedilu-Lesong protected areas.
Surveys are also conducted to estimate the population of these animals.
Other vital components of SFC’s work are eco-tourism, conservation education and community engagements and these are carried out regularly so as to rally support for the orangutans and their habitats.
Degraded areas in the habitats are also identified for restoration activities like rewilding with native plant species.
To support all these expanding activities, SFC also engages in fund-raising by organising adoption fundraising programmes, which raises funds for orangutan conservation and rehabilitation.
The virtual adoption programme is open to all worldwide and this is also an avenue for SFC to disseminate information about orangutan conservation activities carried out in Sarawak.
Funds are channelled towards supporting orangutan conservation projects, educational activities, food and medication for orangutans as and when needed.
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