This is reality TV worth watching. Borneo Wildlife Warriors is a new weekly web series that profiles the adventurous work of Malaysia’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). This 24-hour rapid response team, funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund, rescues wild animals that have wandered into difficult situations. The series follows animal-loving photojournalist and conservationist Aaron Gekosk as he learns that helping wildlife – such as a Bornean elephant that wandered into a plantation or a sun bear which was separated from its pack – is no easy task. The program features many of Malaysia’s iconic animals as well as the human heroes who care for them.
Gekosk first learned about this dedicated team in 2013 when he did a story on poisoned Bornean elephants. The story motivated him to do more. He told Malay Mail Online, “I wanted to get involved somehow and then I heard of the Wildlife Rescue Unit, an elite team of vets and rangers who have been trying to resolve human and wildlife conflict in Sabah since 2010.”
The first season of the series follows his “boot camp” training at WRU’s home base in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. “The series is a real behind-the-scenes look at what goes on at our rescues. It’s basically a reality show on our wildlife rescues, and also portrays the many wonderful characters within the WRU whose great deeds and heroic attempts save wildlife in Sabah,” Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Sen Nathan told Malay Mail Online. “The WRU has come a long way since 2010 with a team of five, to a team of 24 now. It would not have been possible without funding from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council for the last six years.”
The show discusses how Sabah, the Malaysian state on the island of Borneo, is balancing the needs of the animals with the growth of eco-tourism and the socio-economic needs of the country. Added Gekoski, “Mostly though, it talks about conservation but in an entertaining and fun way.” There are also plenty of comedic moments in the series.
The series is produced by ScubazooTV (SZtv), a Sabah-based wildlife producing company which has created content for BBC, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. Borneo Wildlife Warriors weekly episodes are shown on SZtv’s website and on their Facebook page.