Yayasan Sime Darby Contributes RM1.5 Million to the Proboscis Monkey Conservation Programme in Sabah


(left to right) Yayasan Sime Darby Chief Executive Officer Yatela Zainal Abidin and Yayasan Sime Darby Governing Council Member Caroline Russel at the mock cheque presentation ceremony with Dr Senthivel Nathan and Danau Girang Field Centre Director Dr Benoit Goossens.

Kinabatangan, Sabah, 20 July 2011 – The endangered proboscis monkeys living in fragmented forests in Lower Kinabatangan in Sandakan, Sabah have received the attention of Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD).

The foundation has extended a donation of RM1.5 million to the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to conserve and manage the estimated 2,500 - 3,000 proboscis monkeys living in the area.

The three-year commitment will see SWD and Cardiff University of the UK conduct a Proboscis Monkey Conservation Programme at the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), a centre set up by SWD.

The programme will support research and conservation work on proboscis monkeys, considered as one of the most unique, charismatic and endemic primate species of Borneo.

YSD today presented a mock cheque of RM1.5 million to DGFC at a simple ceremony at the centre. YSD Governing Council Member, Ms Caroline Russell, handed over the mock cheque to Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of DGFC.

Also present were Pn. Yatela Zainal Abidin, YSD Chief Executive Officer and Dr Senthilvel Nathan, SWD senior wildlife officer.

Caroline, in her speech, said Sabah is considered to be the last bastion for the survival of the proboscis monkeys on the island of Borneo.

“This is why YSD, with the help of SWD and DGFC, has decided to take a step before it is too late to conserve this species. YSD is humbled to be able to play a part in the conservation of the proboscis monkeys and their habitat to ensure that this does not happen,” she added.

Caroline said these troops of vibrantly coloured monkeys are the most beautiful sight to watch along the Kinabatangan River in the evening, and it would be a shame if there is no awareness or steps taken on their ongoing habitat loss. “YSD hopes that this contribution will bring a change to that, and one day troops of these monkeys will not be an uncommon sight,” she noted.

YSD’s contribution will go towards building a long-term capacity in conservation biology and wildlife management within SWD in the area through the training of it staff at Cardiff University.

Dr Senthilvel Nathan will use part of the contribution to do his PhD at Cardiff University, where he will receive training in conservation biology, molecular ecology, conservation genetics, GIS and management. Two other local staff will also attend a Masters’ degree programme in local universities.

The three-year project will also involve rescue and translocation operations of between 100-250 proboscis monkeys living in perverse habitats. SWD will send its 5-man rescue team for this operation, which will take between three and six months.

Most of the pocketed groups of proboscis monkeys are found along the east coast of Sabah, especially in Kunak and Tawau areas and along the Segama River. A whole family group of monkeys will be translocated at any one time, and they will be relocated at a suitable habitat. Genetic blood samples will then be collected and will be part of Dr. Nathan’s sampling for his PhD study.

At the end of the project, an international workshop will be held to promote the restoration and re-establishment of wildlife corridors along the main rivers in Sabah. Results of the conservation work carried out on the species will be presented and discussed at the workshop with all stakeholders, with the aim of conserving the proboscis monkey population.

The Proboscis Monkey Conservation Programme is in line with YSD’s Conservation of the Environment and Protection of the Ecosystems pillar - the protection and preservation of the environment and conservation of animals and their natural habitat.

Other initiatives under YSD’s Conservation of the Environment and Protection of the Ecosystems pillar include the Restoration and Protection of Orang Utan Habitats in Northern Ulu Segama Forest Reserve, also in Sabah.

It involves reforestation and rehabilitation of an area covering 5,400 hectares of degraded forest within Ulu Segama. Reforestation and planting will focus on plant species specifically as a food source for Orang Utans, as well as forest species unique for wildlife and the creation of natural forests. YSD is contributing RM25 million over a span of 10 years for this effort.

YSD is also funding a project called the Bornean Rhinoceros Sanctuary (BRS), a conservation initiative to save the critically endangered Bornean Sumatran Rhinoceros. It is a collaboration with the Borneo Rhino Alliances (BORA) and the Sabah Wildlife Department.

YSD’s commitment of RM5 million for three years involves the creation and maintenance of a fenced-off area within Tabin Widlife Reserve. The BRS provides a natural environment known to be suitable for rhinos, where they will be protected against poachers and hunters as well as monitoring by qualified staff.

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Last Updated:
13 Dec 2017
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