Saturday, August 15

South Korean city adopts orangutan


FRIENDSHIP: Chan (second row, centre) and Ali (on Chan’s left) with Hang (second row, fifth right) and his entourage as well as SFC staff at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.

ORANGUTAN ADOPTION PROGRAMME: Ali (far left) presents a portrait of Digital Guro to Hang. Chan is at second left, back row. — Photos by Jefferey Mostapa

KUCHING: South Korea’s Guro City and Kuching City further enhanced and developed their friendship and cooperation with the adoption of an orangutan called ‘Digital Guro’ from Semenggoh Wildlife Centre (SWC) yesterday.

The Guro City Council of Seoul Metropolitan Government also donated 3 million South Korea Won (approximately RM10,000) to SWC for the Orangutan Adoption Programme in a simple ceremony at Jalan Puncak Borneo here.

Digital Guro is orangutan Analisa’s second offspring, and was first sighted on Aug 16 last year. Her first was Anakku born in 2006.

Its vice-mayor Hang Soo-Dong said Guro City also shares the same desire and commitment in wildlife and nature protection.

“We had toured the nature reserve (Semenggoh Wildlife Centre) earlier on and were amazed by the local people’s love for nature,” he said with much praise.

“We look forward to visiting more places and hope there will be more mutual exchanges between the two cities in all aspects including social, cultural and economy in the near future,” Hang added.

Kuching City South mayor Dato James Chan, who was there to welcome the entourage and witness the adoption ceremony, encouraged more Korean friends to visit Sarawak often.

“Also, come back more often to visit your orangutan pet, Digital Guro. Keep track of its progress from time to time,” he said.

Chan praised Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) for its efforts in maintaining the nature reserve which has become the centre of attraction for locals and tourists.

Congratulating Guro City for their commitment and support, Chan said: “We (the two cities) have moved on to a new chapter through nature.”

Meanwhile, SFC managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Datu Ali Yusop called on all, especially locals, to emulate the praiseworthy act of Guro City Council.

“If foreigners from so far away can be so generous and make efforts to show that they care, we should be able to do better since this is in our own backyard,” he reminded.

“Conservation work will never be enough when it comes to orangutan as it needs a lot of time and money and therefore we are very grateful to the Guro City Council for their generous contribution,” he said.

According to him, it is estimated that there are only 2,000 to 2,500 wild orangutans left in Sarawak today.

On the cost for the general care of an orangutan, Ali said it is around RM18,000 a year.

“Therefore, in our pursuit to further enhance our orangutan conservation efforts, we launched the Orangutan Adoption Programme in 2009,” he explained.

Ali also expressed the hope to see future collaborations with Guro City Council in other conservation activities.

The 653-hectare Semenggoh nature reserve is home to a total of 27 orangutans and out of the number, 12 of them are male.

The oldest orangutan is old granny Seduku, who is now 42 years old.

The latest addition to the orangutan family is baby girl Ruby who was born to Saddamiah (second offspring of Seduku) and first spotted on June 23.

To date, 20 orangutans have been born in Semenggoh Wildlife Centre where they freely roam
in the nature reserve.