Tuesday, June 25

Pullman Hotel Kuching does its bit in orangutan conservation


KUCHING: On top of experiencing the luxury of staying at Pullman Hotel Kuching (Pullman), guests will have the opportunity to meet Sarawak’s very own red-haired celebrity – the orangutan.

FIRST IN THE WORLD: Len (third left) and Mini (second left) break the ice to launch the ‘Heart 2 Heart’ with orangutan.

FIRST IN THE WORLD: Len (third left) and Mini (second left) break the ice to launch the ‘Heart 2 Heart’ with orangutan.

“This is the first time in the world that a five-star brand, such as Pullman Hotel, collaborate (with a government agency) collaborate in orangutan conservation,” said Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) managing director and CEO Datu Len Talif Salleh during the launch of Earth

Guest Discovery (EGD) package.

EGD package was created to encourage the hotel’s in-house guests to participate in the ‘Heart 2 Heart’ orangutan conservation programme run by SFC.

Heart 2 Heart is a one-day programme that allows the public to actively participate in orangutan rehabilitation at Matang and Semenggoh Wildlife Centres.

By direct involvement in hands-on conservation activities, Len saw the package as a chance for the public to see and experience the life as a conservationist or contribute to conservation.

“This would definitely boost our promotional

effort in creating public awareness and participation in conservation activities.

“With this package, foreign visitors will get to experience for themselves the conservation efforts for orangutans. We believe this will build passion and commitment among the public to help us in protecting and conserving wildlife,” he said.

He added that the SFC was in full support of Pullman’s green agenda as it was in line with the conservation objectives of SFC, especially where wildlife such as orangutans are the main beneficiaries.

Len also highlighted that orangutan conservation have started as early as the 1960s. Protected under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, the total population of orangutans in the state is estimated at 2,500 individuals.

They are found in Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Santuary, Batang Ai National Parks and Ulu Sebuyau National Park. These three totally protected areas of 250,000 hectares are located

within the Sri Aman Administrative Division.

Citing the example of the Matang and Semenggoh Wildlife Centres, he pointed out that conservation efforts by the state have proved to be effective.

“To date, 19 baby orangutans were born at these two centres – 15 at Semenggoh, while the other four at Matang Wildlife Centre. In fact, we have another baby orangutan born in Semenggoh last month. So now we have 25 individuals in this centre.”

“We target to increase the population of orangutans by double to 5,000 in years to come.”

As the maintenance cost for an orangutan ranges between RM6,000 to RM10,000 annually, participation fees received from EGD would be channeled to orangutan conservation efforts.

The proceeds would used in rehabilitation activities such as building cages, purchasing medication and food as well as for education and awareness projects for local communities in both centres.

Pullman general manager Fabrice Mini, in his welcoming address, expressed appreciation for the collaboration with SFC in the preservation programme.

He hoped that EGD would allow guests to participate in orangutan conservation without much hassle as everything would be arranged directly through the hotel.

The package included registration, transportation and four choices of picnic lunches that are readily available for guests, he informed.

“We have placed brochures in all our guest rooms from today (yesterday) onwards not only to promote the package itself but to build awareness to everyone that Sarawak is working towards a righteous direction in sustaining and protecting the endangered orangutans,” he said.

SFC Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation general manager Wilfred Stephen Landong was also present at the launch.