Registered Charity in England & Wales No.1165941

Collaboration Paves way for Progress at Sabah Zoo

Simon Marsh at Lok Kawi Zoo

Collaboration Paves way for Progress at Sabah Zoo

Investing in Animal Welfare: Lok Kawi Wildlife Park (LKWP) extends partners with Wild Welfare to enhance animal well-being for a brighter future.

Wild Welfare Director, Simon Marsh recently ventured back to LKWP, one of the largest zoological centres in Malaysia. The visit highlighted LKWP’s embrace of transformative changes through expanding their current partnership with Wild Welfare US. This partnership has already been working hard to improve elephant care at the facility. Wild Welfare are now expanding their influence around the park to enhance the welfare of many other species such as sun bears, binturong, parrots and porcupines. These collaborative efforts are starting to yield positive outcomes, ushering in a new era of improved animal welfare at the park.

Sun Bear climbing on logThis fundamental shift in philosophy at LKWP is beginning to take shape through the reimagining of older animal enclosures, thanks to their implementation of Wild Welfare’s acclaimed enrichment training programme. Notable improvements can now be seen across the zoo including enhanced feeding methods for sambar deer, increased branching and nesting opportunities in aviaries, and the addition of appropriate substrate being added to the porcupine enclosure to encourage natural digging behaviours. Orangutans and tigers can now be seen benefiting from new climbing structures and enrichment items to promote their physical activity and mental stimulation.

“Following up from our visit last year, it is fantastic to see Lok Kawi Wildlife Park implementing enrichment and husbandry changes for many species across the park. It is really encouraging to witness improvements to animal care and welfare and the staff embracing the training and recommendations Wild Welfare delivered in 2023.” Simon Marsh – Director, Wild Welfare

But the heart of this transformation may not just lay in the physical environmental changes implemented, but through the empowerment of LKWP’s caregiving staff. A Wild Welfare animal behaviour workshop attended by 25 LKWP team members highlighted the importance of understanding the natural behaviours of their animals and applying strategies to foster positive responses within a captive environment.Lok Kawi zoo staff workshop with Wild Welfare

Even with the park staff’s busy schedules, Wild Welfare saw an opportunity to elevate the animal’s enrichment to a high priority. LKWP keepers are now working alongside Borneo Behavioural Solutions (BBS) to carry out scheduled enrichment activities. A detailed time budget template has also been jointly developed to not only streamline keeper tasks; but provide animals with regular engaging activities and playful challenges. Logs would be scattered for inquisitive bears, fresh digging materials for curious porcupines, and stimulating puzzles created for the intelligent primates. These seemingly small gestures, woven into the daily routine, promises a world of difference for the animals’ well-being.

Wild Welfare have provided a full report outlining a brighter future for the welfare of animals at LKWP. The feedback and recommendations outlined in this report are now being implemented through improvements across the park. The creation of a spacious new binturong enclosure which utilises mature native trees, will cater directly to the arboreal needs of this unique and much loved species. The park also intends Improving aviaries at Lok Kawi Wildlife Parkto replace existing aviaries with larger facilities featuring natural features and suitable refuge areas for the birds. One huge beacon of hope is the proposed redevelopment of an existing sun bear enclosure. By expanding this existing area, LKWP hopes to create two sun bear habitats, allowing two groups of bears access to outdoor areas every day. As well as more space and opportunities to explore outside, the inclusion of additional vertical structures to encourage climbing and provide elevated rest areas for the bears will bring about great improvements. A new bespoke enrichment programme to support and encourage their natural behaviours will also be implemented, alongside changes in management strategy to allow the bears even more choice and control over their own lives.

“During the visit earlier this year it was an opportunity to observe first hand the changes being made as well as working with the staff in driving forward bigger changes which will have a long term, positive impact on the welfare of many animals in the park.”

These positive developments highlight Wild Welfare and LKWP’s commitment to providing better lives for captive wild animals. By collaborating with Wild Welfare, the park is taking significant strides to ensuring the well-being of its residents by creating enriching animal environments.Tiger enclosure Lok Kawi Wildlife Park Wild Welfare hopes this partnership will offer an exemplary example of responsible captive animal management to other wildlife conservation centres, zoos and wildlife parks in the region. The future of LKWP won’t be built overnight. It will be a story written in many chapters, each one a step towards a brighter future for the animals, staff and visitors. This thoughtful approach promises a future where every creature at LKWP can begin to thrive.



Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on

Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.

Our vision is a world where every captive wild animal is able to thrive and live a good life. Find out more at Registered charity in England (no.1165941).