Liew supports safari park proposal for Sabah

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BOGOR: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew has expressed support for the State Government’s proposed safari park (also known as wildlife park) for wildlife conservation and as a new tourism product.

“Hence, we support the Chief Minister’s proposal for a wildlife park in Sabah. We can care for the well-being of wildlife, especially animals that are threatened by extinction, in a safari park while allowing visitors and tourists to observe the animals in their natural habitat,” she said after a three-hour study tour of the famous Taman Safari Bogor (or Bogor Safari Park) with the theme “Save Our Wildlife”, here.

Liew, who is also Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, was commenting on Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s statement that the Sabah Government will identify an area suitable for wildlife habitat and breeding programme, particularly for endangered species, and the site would also be a tourist attraction.

Last Sunday, the Chief Minister told reporters that this move was in line with the government’s intention to protect and ensure the survival of wildlife which, he said, are “treasures” of the state.

While in Indonesia, Liew was taken on a three-hour guided tour of Taman Safari Bogor by Chief Operating Officer Bapak Alexander Nayoan.

Located in the mountainous area of Cisarua, Bogo regency in West Java, it is a zoo and animal theme park that has become a popular tourist destination.

“The number of daily visitors ranges from 5,000 to 12,000, depending on the holiday season in Indonesia and other countries like the Middle East, US, Europe and Malaysia. Domestic tourists and members of the diplomatic corps in Indonesia make up 80 per cent while the remaining 20 per cent comprise international tourists.”

According to  BapakAlexander, Taman Safari Bogor, which started in 1985, is home to some 3,000 animals representing 300 species, including rare and endangered animals. Animal collection was acquired from countries such as China, India, Africa, Europe, Australia and the United States under exchange programmes.

Award-winning Taman Safari Bogor is one of four safari parks in Indonesia, the others being Taman Safari Prigen in East Java, Bali Safari and Marine Park, and the upcoming safari park in Central Java.

Meanwhile, director of Taman Safari Bogor, Bapak Drs Jansen Manansang, who is also the owner of the park, showed the Minister around Istana Panda (home to a pair of pandas from China), adjacent to the park. He was accompanied by the Group Head of Life Sciences, Biswajit G.

In his briefing on the concept, operation and management of a safari park, Bapak Drs Jansen, who has more than 30 years’ experience in operating Taman Safari Bogor, said its four pillars are wildlife conservation, education for schoolchildren and the public, research (by scientists and zoologists, among others) and recreation (examples, safari trek outbound camp, elephant ride, feline feeding adventure and dolphin show).

“We ensure that visitors gain good experiences in line with our vision to make Taman Safari Bogor a leading animal theme park for wildlife conservation and in tandem with our mission to provide edutainment for knowledge and memorable animal experiences,” he said.

The Minister was accompanied on the study tour by the Permanent Secretary William Baya, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) General Manager, Noredah Othman, Sabah Wildlife Department Director, Augustine Tuuga, STB Marketing Manager (Indonesia), Bobby Alex and her Private Secretary Helen Muhammari.

Also present were Consul Bapak Cahyono Rustam of the Consulate-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, who represented Consul-General Bapak Krishna Djelani, and Vice-Consul Bapak Sartono Hendrarso.

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