- UPDATED 5PM | Added appeal from Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, amended Gibbon Conservation Society's bank account number and Paypal link.
CORONAVIRUS | Two wildlife conservation centres are appealing for donations to sustain operations after being badly affected by the movement control order (MCO).
The Gibbon Conservation Society (GCS) in Pahang needs funds to feed the 12 gibbons under its care.
The society was previously known as the Gibbon Protection Society Malaysia.
In her public appeal for help, GCS president Mariani Ramli (above) said the money raised would also be used to feed several of its guard dogs.
"With the current Covid-19 situation, everything has stopped suddenly... even the cash that usually comes in.
"We have rationed our food supplies to the best of our ability but we can't seem to stretch further into April," said Mariani, who is known for her work to end the illegal wildlife trade.
"Believe me, we are not talking about humans here. It is for the precious gibbons and whatever leftovers are for our guard dogs (they too have been trained to eat the leftover fruits).
"I'm appealing to you and your friends (if you could kindly include them) to spare some kind thoughts for the gibbons by making a small contribution to help us see this through," she said.
There are five species of gibbons found in Malaysia and all five species are listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The white-handed gibbon, dark-handed or agile gibbon and the siamang are found in Peninsular Malaysia, while Muller’s gibbon and Abbott’s grey gibbon live in Sabah and Sarawak.
Under Malaysia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, anyone who hunts or keeps baby gibbons without a special permit can be fined up to RM200,000 and/or jailed up to 10 years.
In past interviews, the 33-year-old former wildlife ranger had opened up about how her first encounter with a gibbon rescued from an illegal wildlife trader had led to her current role with GPSM, the only NGO in Peninsular Malaysia dedicated to gibbon conservation.
All donations can be channelled to:
Gibbon Conservation Society
Maybank Account No: 5623 3940 8187
Swift Code: MBBEMYKL or Paypal
Sabah sun bears
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sepilok, Sabah is also seeking donations for its 43 rescued sun bears.
Founder and CEO Wong Siew Te told Malaysiakini that the centre usually depends on ticket sales from tourists who visit the centre to fund its operations, which can come up to RM120,000 a month.
This covers the costs of sun bear food, medicine, staff salaries and centre maintenance.
"We are closed throughout the MCO for one month. What's worse is the Covid-19 pandemic has affected Europe and the US badly, and this is where most of our visitors come from.
"So now we do not have any revenue at all. And even if we open after the MCO is lifted, no foreign tourists will come and our income will still be affected. We project that this will affect us for a long time.
"I can't handle it so I need to approach the public for help," he said.
BSBCC is a collaboration between Wong and the Sabah Wildlife Department to rehabilitate sun bears that have been rescued from captivity as pets or the illegal wildlife trade.
However, he said the centre does not receive any financial assistance from the Sabah government for its operations.
Interested parties can contact head to the BSBCC website or donate to:
Sun Bear Conservation Bhd
Public Bank Berhad account number: 319 505 4919
Swift code: PBBEMYKL
Additional reporting by ANNABELLE LEE.
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