Malaysia: Milk for baby jumbos pours in

The Star 1 Aug 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The care of five orphaned elephant calves at a wildlife centre in Sandakan is now more assured with a one-tonne contribution of milk powder for them.

The milk powder was flown in from New Zealand to Kota Kinabalu, courtesy of dairy giant Fonterra and NGO Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species (Rages).

The milk can feed the five elephant calves at the Sepilok centre for up to six months, saving some RM100,000 in costs, said Sabah Wildlife Department Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) acting manager Dr Diana Ramirez.

The calves, aged between one and two and a half years, consume up to 8kg of milk per day, she said, adding that pachyderms were given milk until they were about four- or five years old.

Dr Diana said the calves were rescued from around Sabah and brought to Sepilok where they were cared for by the department’s elephant care unit.

Last year, WRU in association with Rages started its search for the best milk powder option for the endangered orphaned Bornean elephants, said Dr Diana.

A few products were tested during the trials. It was decided that Fonterra milk was the best choice for the baby elephants, she added.

Dr Ramirez said an inaugural shipment took place last year with an initial donation by Borneo Conservation Trust-Japan to buy 1.2 tonnes of milk powder from Fonterra.

The second shipment of milk powder arrived at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on July 25 and was immediately collected by WRU and sent to Sepilok.

Rages South-East Asia Project Director Debbie Mair said they were committed to preserving and investing in conservation.

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