Currently RAGES is supporting the efforts of Rotarians involved in saving endangered Orangutans, Pygmy Elephants, and Rhino. This bulletin highlights the work to save Pygmy Elephants in Borneo by Rotarian Sue Sheward and her NGO Orangutan Appeal UK. Sue is a member of the Rotary Club of Bookham & Horsely, England.
Sepilok’s Pygmy Elephant Orphans
As well as being home to orphaned and injured orangutans on varying stages of rehabilitation, the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is also a safe haven for all kinds of wildlife. The largest of these, although still only babies, are six Bornean pygmy elephants. There are believed to be less than 2,000 of these elephants left in the wild and conflict with humans is pushing this rare species closer to the edge of extinction. Even though the Bornean pygmy elephant is smaller than its mainland cousin the Asian elephant, they unsurprisingly still require vast areas of territory to feed and roam in. With the human population expanding and development causing greater expanses of rainforest to be felled, elephants are being pushed out of the jungle and are increasingly found on agricultural or residential land where they risk being shot at or caught in illegal snares.
The orphaned elephants at Sepilok have similar stories to tell. Three year old Budak (pictured above) was found alone on plantation land when he was just two months old. Without his herd to guide and care for him, Budak began to follow the plantation workers on their motorbikes, causing a danger to himself and others. Similarly, male orphan Adun was found at just two weeks old, having fallen into a pond on the site of a saw mill. His herd were nowhere to be found and this little elephant needed urgent rescue if he was to survive.
Luckily, Sepilok is on hand to help elephants like Budak, Adun and the four other babies in their care. Like human infants, these elephants need round the clock care and regular feeds of milk and vegetation. We are dedicated to helping these individuals and two of our members of permanent staff, Rico and Sylvester, are assisting the Wildlife Rescue Unit to ensure the elephants are given the attention they need.
At the end of 2018 the Sabah government created a task force to tackle the problems facing the elephants in Sabah with the aim to create a wildlife area as a safe haven. Positive steps are being made to ensure a future for this species and we will be working closely with the WRU to care for the elephants who are most in need of help.
roject updates will be reported from time to time providing current information about projects, programs, and/or people that RAGES has endorsed. RAGES endorsed projects are generally programs that involve Rotarians and or Rotary clubs. They may either provide direct support for our mission or support others that do.