From elephants to egrets and turtles to monitor lizards and crocodiles, Malaysia’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) rangers and veterinarians are dedicated to keeping their country’s abundant wildlife population safe and healthy. With much of its funding coming from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, the WRU handled 284 cases in 2019 according to its most recent annual report; 59% of those involving rescue and relocation. 

Whether it’s freeing a baby elephant trapped in a mud hole and returning it safely to its herd, enforcing the law against illegal sale of turtle eggs, conducting undercover operations to free animals illegally kept in captivity, or even participating beach clean ups, this team is always there for the wellbeing of the animals. 

Some interesting details from the annual report include: 

  • About half of the team’s 2019 cases involved trouble-making long-tailed and pig-tailed macaque monkeys, who all received a full veterinary examination before being relocated and released back into the forest reserve.
  • Other more common calls involved crocodiles and elephants.  
  • Just four calls (2%) in 2019 involved orangutans. 
  • WRU assisted with the care and release of a diversity of species reflecting Malaysia’s abundance of wildlife, including the slow loris, endangered pangolin, monitor lizards, egrets, owls and turtles. 
  • WRU works closely with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Danau Girang Field Center (DGFC) to assist in the Elephant Collaring Program. These collars send GPS locations of the elephants, making it easier for researchers to monitor their movements. 
  • WRU collaborates with the Oregon Zoo to save the imperiled Asian elephants. The Oregon Zoo donated a portable x-ray machine to WRU, and sponsored a WRU staff visit to the zoo to share knowledge regarding elephant care.  
  • WRU is also vigilantly on the lookout for emerging diseases among the country’s wildlife population to ensure they remain healthy and active for generations to come. 

Supporting companies that purchase only certified sustainable palm oil for their products is one way that you can help the WRU protect and save these precious animals. As the first nation to produce palm oil sustainably, and now with its nationally mandated MSPO certification program, Malaysia is a leader in sustainable palm oil production to protect our planet as well as its people.

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