A new video series, Borneo Wildlife Warriors, profiles the journey of conservationist and journalist Aaron Gekoski as he achieves his dream of working with the Malaysian Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). The first episode documents Gekoski’s introduction to this team of hardworking vets and park rangers. Founded in 2010, the WRU – which is supported by the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund — works tirelessly to ensure that Malaysia’s animals and people live harmoniously.
The episode begins by celebrating Borneo’s biodiversity. Earth’s third largest island – which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brueni – is home to hundreds of mammal, bird and amphibian species, and thousands of exotic plant species.
Elephants are especially treasured in Malaysia. The country is the home to the Bornean Elephant Sanctuary. This organization works in partnership with the WRU to help elephants who have wandered into populated areas or other risky situations. Talented rangers move these gentle creatures back to safer areas. More than 50 percent of Malaysia’s land is protected. The country has also connected its rainforests and other protected lands with special elephant corridors. These wide swaths of land help the elephants move freely around the tropical county.
The WRU has helped more than 175 elephants, including Joe, a young elephant that was the only surviving member of a tragic poisoning. Gekoski first learned about the WRU when reporting on this story. Ever since then, it was Gekoski’s dream to work with this esteemed animal rescue organization.
In the episode, Gekoski recalls his introduction to the WRU: “It was really interesting for me, seeing the guys at the WRU who are helping to rehabilitate Joe. They’re doing an incredible job, essentially acting like a surrogate family for him. I definitely thought that this is something I’d really like to get involved with. I want to join their team. I want to live their lives. I want to be a ranger.”