Bornean Banteng Action Plan proposed for Sabah

Workshop will see input from scientists and industry players on the conservation of the endangered Bornean banteng

The Technical Working Group for the Bornean Banteng Workshop consists of (back row, left to right) Sabah Forestry Department Senior Assistant Chief Conservator of Forests Indra P. Sunjoto, Mahidol University Professor Dr Ramesh Boonratana, Sabah Wildlife Department Senior Assistant Director, Kasetsart University Associate Professor Dr Naris Bhumpakphan, Borneo Rhino Alliance Field Manager and Veterinarian Dr Zainal Zainuddin, HUTAN Scientific Director Dr Marc Ancrenaz, WWF Malaysia-Sabah Head of Patrolling and Monitoring Sharon Koh, Rhino and Forest Fund Director Robert Risch; (front row, left to right) University Malaysia Sabah Associate Professor Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad, Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia Field Manager Iman Sapari, Yayasan Sime Darby Projects Assistant Manager Muhammad Hafizzudin Mohd Ariff, Tokyo University of Agriculture Professor Dr Hisashi Matsubayashi, Houston Zoo Vice President of Wildlife Conservation Peter Riger, Copenhagen Zoo Baluran Programme Project Manager Hariyawan Agung Wahyudi, Danau Girang Field Centre Director Benoit Goossens, Living Landscapes Alliance Director Dr Nicola Abram, Copenhagen Zoo Southeast Asia Programme Director Dr Carl Traeholt, YSD environment scholar and DGFC field leader Hugo Lim Hong Ye, Sabah Environmental Trust Chief Executive Officer Dr Rahimatsah Amat, DGFC Conservation Geneticist Nur Alwanie Maruji and Enforcement Consultant Simon Leak. Not pictured: Carnegie Institute of Science Post Doctorate Researcher Dr Luke Evans and DGFC Conservation Planning Officer Lucy Peter Liaw. 

Kota Kinabalu, 30 November 2017 – The final chapter of Yayasan Sime Darby’s research conservation projects with the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) will begin with a two-day workshop attended by subject matter experts aimed at conserving the Bornean banteng.

International and local scientists, governmental agencies as well as industry players will convene until 1 December 2017 to save the iconic and endemic species to Sabah, months after proposing recommendations towards the conservation of two other species - the proboscis monkey and Sunda clouded leopard.

Recommendations will be proposed to protect the Bornean banteng based on findings of a five-year extensive state-wide survey conducted by DGFC and SWD.

A Bornean Banteng Action Plan for Sabah will then be drafted based on the proposed recommendations gleaned from the workshop. It will be validated by the IUCN Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group before being submitted to the State Government for approval.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said he hopes that the Sabah state government will adopt the Bornean Banteng Action Plan for implementation to save the species, which is threatened by heavy poaching, habitat loss, road development and forest fragmentation in Sabah.

Last month, three banteng were poached by hunters in three protected areas in Sabah in the space of three days.

“At that rate of poaching, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran rhinoceros,” he said.

“During this project, DGFC, in collaboration with SWD and Sabah Forestry Department, carried out surveys using camera traps in several protected and unprotected areas throughout the state.

“We currently have four, maybe five isolated populations of banteng, one on the West coast, one or two in central Sabah, one in the south-east and one in the north-east of Sabah. The total population is estimated to be around 400 to 500 individuals, making the Bornean banteng the most endangered large mammal in Sabah,” added Goossens.

Dr Goossens said the workshop will see input from relevant stakeholders, including government department officers, representatives from NGOs, tourism and palm oil industries.

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) has been supporting the DGFC since April 2011, with a total commitment of RM3.96 million over a period of six years, to conduct research on three species – Proboscis monkey, Sunda clouded leopard and the Bornean banteng.

Earlier this year, DGFC and SWD organised a workshop and conference on the conservation of the proboscis monkey and Sunda clouded leopard, which saw recommendations proposed towards the drafting of a state action plan to conserve the endangered species.

State Action Plans for the conservation of both species are also being drafted. The three species’ action plans will be ready for early 2018.

YSD Chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the Foundation will be waiting in anticipation for the submission of the three State Action Plans to the Sabah state government.

“YSD is proud to have supported the crucial work done in collaboration with DGFC, the Sabah state government and international scientists from all over the world on the proboscis monkey, the clouded leopard and the banteng. Only when we were approached to support the project had I known that the last species we started funding among the three, namely the Bornean banteng, was the most threatened animal species when compared to the proboscis monkey and the clouded leopard which were already very threatened species in Sabah.”

“YSD believes in making a sustainable impact through the initiatives we support. Therefore, we are not only looking forward to the successful launch of the three State Action Plans for the proboscis money, clouded leopard and the banteng; but also to the successful adoption and implementation of all three documents as part of the State Environmental Conservation Policy to save these species from extinction. Only then would we have achieved our objectives in investing in all of these three important projects in Sabah,” he added.

The Foundation has also sponsored one Malaysian student, Lim Hong Ye (aka Hugo), who pursued his Master’s degree at Universiti Malaysia Sabah and graduated this year. Hugo will present his work on the banteng at the workshop today.

Under its Environment pillar, to date, YSD has committed RM138 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.

A Bornean Banteng calf. The Bornean Banteng is threatened by heavy poaching and habitat loss. 

The Bornean Banteng is the most endangered large animal in Sabah.

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Last Updated:
30 Nov 2017
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