Yayasan Sime Darby extends sponsorship for the Management and Ecology of
The Foundation commits an additional RM1.9 million towards research on
elephant ecology and conservation
KUALA LUMPUR, 7 February 2017 – In an effort to save
the gentle giants of Malaysia, Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) is extending support for
the Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) project with a RM1.9
million commitment for another three years from Jan 2017 until Dec 2019.
This year marks YSD’s
sixth year of support for the MEME project to preserve Asian elephants in
Malaysia. YSD first sponsored the MEME project in January 2012, committing
RM3.36 million until December 2016.
The project is helmed
by University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) School of Environmental and Geographical
Sciences Associate Professor Dr Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz with cooperation from
the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia
YSD Governing Council
Member Caroline Christine Russell said that as of September 2016, the MEME
project has recorded significant findings that illuminate the behaviour and ecology
of the Asian elephant in forested areas of Malaysia, as well as their interactions
“The findings of the MEME project include the revelation that elephants
have lost nearly 70% of their roaming territory in human-dominated landscapes
in Malaysia over the past 35 years; an alarming rate.
“Unfortunately, we still do not know well their
distribution in non-human dominated landscapes, such as forest reserves and
“We need urgent solutions and initiatives to
stop the decrease of wildlife populations in Malaysia, including elephants,
before it is too late. We also need better baseline data to monitor the status
of their population in the long term,” she said.
Dr Campos-Arceiz said the extended sponsorship will assist MEME to fund their research team,
field equipment as well as field operations.
“Since 2011, MEME is generating a large amount
of novel information on the ecology and conservation of elephants in Peninsular
Malaysia, including information on the distribution of elephants in
human-dominated landscapes, elephant diet and movements in fragmented
landscapes, their ecological importance for the maintenance of forest
ecosystems, and the effectiveness of different strategies for the mitigation of
“This extended sponsorship is very important for
MEME because it will allow us to complete our ongoing research as well as use
this newly generated information to advise policy-makers and create public
awareness for the conservation of these magnificent animals in Malaysia,” he
O’Malley, UNMC’s Vice-Provost for Research, said “The University of Nottingham
is proud of MEME, one of our most visible and potentially impactful research
One of MEME’s
objectives is capacity building and training the next generation of elephant
researchers and conservationists in Malaysia, which has been made possible
through YSD’s funding.
In this regard, UNMC
student Dr Ee Phin Wong recently obtained her PhD for the non-invasive study of
stress in wild elephant. Dr Wong is now Assistant Professor at the University
of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
Two other students –
Hii Ning and Ange Tan – have received their Masters in Research for the
study of elephant social behaviour and distribution, respectively. By the end
of 2019, it is expected that MEME will have trained five PhD and three Master
by Research Malaysian students.
The team has also
played an important role in the drafting of the National Conservation and
Action Plan (NECAP), which was launched in 2013, and is one of the key members
of MyGajah, the steering committee that oversees NECAP’s implementation.
Under its Environment
pillar, to date, YSD has committed RM130 million towards the protection of high conservation
value ecosystems, vulnerable and endangered species as well as initiatives
promoting the preservation of the environment and biodiversity.
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