KOTA KINABALU: A male Bornean orangutan nicknamed “Tiger” was released into the wild after 18 years in the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.
Tiger, aged 20, was translocated to the Tabin wildlife reserve in Lahad Datu yesterday, through a joint effort between Sabah Wildlife Department and a UK-based charity Orangutan Appeal UK.
State wildlife director Augustine Tuuga, in a statement today, said Tiger was brought to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center some 18 years ago as a very timid two-year-old orphaned baby orangutan.
“He spent the next few years undergoing the rehabilitation process there. Ironically, Tiger was actually rescued from a logging camp somewhere in Lahad Datu and now is being translocated back to Tabin Wildlife Reserve’s Core Area, also in Lahad Datu.
“The department would like to thank Orangutan Appeal UK for funding this whole translocation operation which cost more than RM50,000,” he said.
Tuuga added that Tabin Wildlife Reserve was an ideal place to release Tiger as it was a large area for him to comfortably forage in.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council for funding the department’s Wildlife rescue Unit, which played a critical role in making the translocation operation a success.
Meanwhile, Orangutan Appeal UK founder and chairperson Sue Sheward said the release of Tiger from Sepilok to the Tabin reserve made history, with everyone in the organisation and wildlife department pooling their resources to achieve the goal.
“With the assistance of good friends within Sabah and the UK, yet another magnificent orangutan was saved,” concluded Sue