KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has received three four-wheel-drive vehicles from a UK-based non-governmental organisation to help with its Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) operations.
The contribution, amounting to nearly RM400,000, was part of the Orangutan Appeal UK's pledge last year of a RM1mil funding over a period of five years to help with wildlife conservation efforts in Sabah.
The vehicles were handed over by Orangutan Appeal UK chairperson and founder Sue Sheward to SWD director Augustine Tuuga, witnessed by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew on Friday (June 21).
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, in a speech read by Liew, thanked the NGO for their support, especially since WRU played a significant role in wildlife rescue and translocation operations since it was set up nine years ago.
"I am delighted to know that you fully support Sabah's strategy to manage wildlife conservation, which is now under critical threat due to habitat loss and poaching.
"Though we have just recently lost one of our remaining last two Sumatran rhinoceros, I would like to assure you we are doing everything in our power to resolve the current situation and prevent extinction of other Sabah's iconic wildlife, such as the Bornean Elephant, Sunda Pangolin, orangutan, tembadau and many more," said Shafie.
Sheward in her speech said her NGO had invested RM12mil since 2001 for Sabah wildlife conservation, including for the refurbishment and medical equipments at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Ccentre.
Tuuga said they have yet to decide where the three fully-modified 4WDs will be based but said they will be distributed across the state where it is needed, perhaps in Sandakan or Lahad Datu.
"As for the remainder of RM600,000 from the RM1mil pledge, it will be used for SWD operations and activities over the next five years," he added.