Friends gather to raise money for Labuan's strays

KOTA KINABALU: A group of friends led by retired pilot Anthony Rodger are embarking on a mission to raise funds to spay and neuter all strays in Labuan.

The 58-year-old Rodger and three other friends will be working with volunteers, non-governmental organisations like Stray Free Labuan and Kelab Pencinta dan Pelindung Haiwan Jalanan Labuan as well as vets to make this programme a success.

“We hope to raise at least RM100,000 and with that money, hopefully get all the stray cats and dogs spayed and neutered,” said the animal lover who had adopted a few stray cats and dogs himself.

Rodger said that he and his friends will be climbing up and down Labuan's Kubong Hill until they have amassed a total distance of 8,849m - the equivalent to the height of Mount Everest to raise awareness and funds for this cause.

He said this hike - called Everesting Bukit Kubong - is scheduled for July 30 and 31, and would take approximately 36 hours for them to complete.

“Those who wish to also join in this hike are welcome to do so at their own expense, but to be clear, they won’t ‘officially’ be part of our team because that would require a permit from the local authorities,” he said.

On this, Rodger said any event that sees over 10 people joining under the same banner must have approval from local authorities.

“We do not want to make this complicated and that is why under the Everesting Bukit Kubong banner, it will be just the four of us taking part,” he said.

However, as the hill is public property, anyone else who wishes to climb and be part of the cause on an unofficial basis are free to do what they want at the same time and date mentioned.

Rodger said anyone who has driven around Labuan will know that stray dogs and cats live in extreme hunger, disease and deprivation all over the island.

“The only long-term and sustainable solution is to embark on a systematic neutering of these neglected animals which will lead to a more controlled population size,” Rodger added.

He said this in turn will enable organisations such as Stray Free Labuan to find homes and help care for the animals that remain.

Rodger added that contrary to public perception, this will not lead to an extinction of these animals but rather a smaller number of strays that can be better taken care of.

On preparations for the event, Rodger said a warm-up will be held at Bukit Kubong on Sunday (May 15) from 5am onwards.

Anyone interested can go and meet up with Anthony and his friends to get more details on how they can help and get involved with the awareness campaign.

They can contact Anthony at 0142096522 or his friends, Jason (0198630681), Hafisz +60(0)129078359, Poh +60(0)138782111, or Stray Free Labuan’s Anna Leong at +60(0)128338232 and Steffi Tay at +60(0)198151172.

They are also hoping to do a similar event for the same cause on Mount Kinabalu next year.

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