Orang utan island reopens to visitors

  • Nation
  • Friday, 13 May 2016

KERIAN: The orang utan island on Bukit Merah Lake will reopen to the public today after access to it returned to normal over the past few days.

Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation chief executive officer Dr D. Sabapathy said its lake cruiser could now ferry visitors across the 3km stretch of water from the jetty at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort.

The island, which is home to 22 orang utan, was closed to visitors from April 11 after the lake became too shallow for the crui­ser because of drought.

There are another two orang utan on an adjacent island that are under the care of the foundation.

Dr Sabapathy has more good news for local visitors – the fee is RM25 for adults and RM15 for children until June 12. Usually, it is RM30 and RM18 respectively.

The ticket price for foreign visitors remains at RM36 each.

Dr Sabapathy hoped visitors would show up in droves, adding that the foundation suffered about RM250,000 in losses during the closure.

“We are giving a special rate to visitors with MyKad and MyKid.

“We are only making a RM1 or RM2 profit,” he said after taking reporters on a visit to the island yesterday.

At the height of the drought, it was reported that the 10-minute journey to the island from the jetty was taking almost three times longer due to shallow areas.

Caretakers had to paddle canoes or use a small motorised boat to get to the animals there.

Dr Sabapathy said it costs about RM160,000 a month to run the place and that the food bill for the orang utan was RM15,000 a month.

He said there were 10,000 visitors from January to April 10 this year, a decrease of 4,000 in comparison to the corresponding period last year.

He said 80% of the visitors were from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Italy.

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