KUCHING: The Wiggle Waggle Walk, organised by Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) as part of their annual Animazing Race, had two participants who stole the thunder from their mostly canine fellow wiggle-wagglers.
Originally bred by a farm for food, the two white ducks collectively known as Cheeb Cheab turned heads in their specially-built pull-along wagon. They didn’t make a lot of speed in the 1km walk around the block, but they did make a lot of people smile.
Cheeb Cheab shares a home with two dogs, who initially barked at the newcomers but all have since become great friends. During the interview, when one of the dogs flopped down to drink water from the ducks’ bowl, the male duck dissuaded him with a gentle peck to the paw.
Owner and duck handler Annabelle Ling said that the ducks not only became family, but made her look at meat-producing animals in a new light.
“I only became a vegan about two or three months ago and it’s because of the ducks. Every time I see chicken (meat) hanging in a stall, I think of my ducks,” she told The Borneo Post, adding that she can no longer stomach the idea of eating meat.
Ling, who came to the event with her sister Daphne and mother Alice, described the duck farm as ‘terrible’ and said she wanted to rescue as many animals as possible. When people think of SSPCA, they only think about dogs and cats. Ling wanted people to consider the lives of other animals out there.
“If I could, I’d open a sanctuary where all animals can be safe.”
The male duck got out of the wagon to walk himself at some point during the event, while the female had to be helped to the water bowl due to a broken leg.
Ling said that the pair was inseparable, so they had no problem getting the male duck to follow the wagon although this was their first public outing.
After the Wiggle Waggle Walk, a Jesuit priest performed an animal blessing ceremony as continuation of the World Animal Day celebration.
Meanwhile, the Animazing Race 2016 drew a total of 700 runners and 120 volunteers. There were also 77 participants from The Salvation Army Childrens and Boys Homes, 10 participants from The Special Olympics, and six from the Deaf Society.
According to SSPCA president Datin Dona Drury-Wee, their participation fees were sponsored by friends on Facebook.
She voiced her relief that yesterday’s weather was beautiful as last year’s race had to be cancelled due to the haze.
“The Animazing Race is organised in the hope of reaching out to a different cross section of Kuching’s society and creating greater awareness about SSPCA, its activities and our fund-raising efforts,” she said in her speech after the race was over.
Every year, the Animazing Race picks a different animal paw design for their finisher medal, and for this year–its fourth–they have chosen the sun bear.
SSPCA aims to raise greater awareness about the smallest bear in the world. Borneo is home to one of its sub-species – honey bears, named thus as honey is their favourite meal.
Drury-Wee also said they wanted to highlight to runners and the general public that these bears should never be used as a photo opportunity.
“There are some people out there who catch sun bears, hold them captive and drug them so that they are calm enough to have their photo taken with. This is also what happens to tiger cubs and other wild animals. Please do not support such photo-taking opportunities as the animals are not humanely treated, nor are they allowed to exercise their natural behaviour.”
Also present was SSPCA chairperson Rebecca D’Cruz, and secretary Gracie Geikie. Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai was there to flag off the 10km run at 6am and the 5km run at 6.45am.
Animazing Race is supported by DBKU, with Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) as its official venue and Place Borneo as its event management partner.
It is sponsored by Lea Sports Centre (LSC), Sunifeel, The Mandarin Restaurant and Supreme Cold Storage Sdn Bhd, and partnered with Revive Isotonic Drink, Premier Echo Sound & Lighting System, DBC Kuching, Plaza Merdeka, Water Genesis, Phoenix Gym, CTS Event Management, O-Run-Utan Running Club, and Prestige Photography.
As one of the sponsors of Animazing Race 2016, LSC came in with a big amount allocated for this cause. LSC’s CSR initiative is to assess and support events that will benefit the community. They want to promote the power of sports as a medium to create awareness on giving back to society.
LSC also sponsored finisher t-shirts and Adidas gift vouchers for the top 10 winners in the 10km Veteran Men and Women category, and 10km Open Men and Women category. Meanwhile, the top 10 winners of the 5km Open Men and Women category received finisher t-shirts.