BY BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
SANDAKAN: Michelle Yeoh, the Hollywood superstar, cannot wait to be back in Sabah and hopefully work closely with the Wildlife Rescue Unit and showcase the wonderful work they do, to the world at large.
During a visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, at Sandakan, Mile 14 recently, Michelle said she was impressed with all the conservation efforts that were undertaken over the last 10 years.
She was in Sabah nearly a decade ago to film The National Geographic documentary – “Among the Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh”.
Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, Michelle is known for her roles in the 1997 James Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, playing Wai Lin, and the Chinese-language martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000.
During her recent visit, Michelle was escorted by Dr Diana Ramirez, acting Manager of Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) and Sylvia Alsisto, Officer in Charge of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
She was briefed on the WRU and their role in assisting the Sabah Wildlife Department in wildlife conservation in the state.
She was also briefed on the current Human Elephant conflict situation in Sabah which has brought five rescued orphan elephants under 24-hour care by the WRU vets and rangers, and Michelle was surprised by the close experience with the rescued orphaned elephants in the centre guided by Jibius Dausip @ JB, the SWD senior ranger and elephant trainer.
Despite the rain, the entourage continued the visit to the orangutan viewing at the feeding platform to witness the second phase of orangutan rehabilitation process at the Outdoor Nursery Complex , which was open to public in 2014.
Michelle’s last stop on her visit to sepilok was the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre where she had a full briefing on sun bear conservation efforts by Dr. Wong Sew Tie, the CEO and founder.
“After nearly 10 year of volunteering while shooting the documentary (Among Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh) here in Sepilok, I am so delighted to see so many changes here in Sabah in terms of Wildlife conservation,” she said Sunday.
“The WRU and the gravely important work they do in rescuing and passionately taking care of Sabah’s endangered wildlife is an awe-inspiring experience that Malaysia should be proud of.”
The establishment of the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre here in Sepilok is also a new conservation initiative that need to be applauded and supported as it gives chance for captive sun bears to be rehabilitated and released back into the wilds of Borneo, added Michelle.
The WRU has been solely funded and sponsored by the MPOC for the past seven years.