Yayasan Sime Darby hosts first ever Environment Day in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Some of the secondary school students participating in the Borneo Botanic Batik Competition.

KOTA KINABALU, 20 May 2016 – A seven year old boy stood in awe of a sculpture made out of recyclable items and asked his teacher, “What animal is that? Why is it covered in scales? Is it a fish?”

The primary school pupil was among more than 1,000 people who attended the inaugural Yayasan Sime Darby Environment Day at the University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) here today. The “fish” he was referring to was a gigantic replica of a Pangolin that received much attention from visitors. The sculpture is to raise awareness and highlight the plight of the Pangolins, which despite being the most illegally traded wildlife species in the country, has yet to be acknowledged as critically endangered.

The day-long event saw numerous activities including talks, documentary screenings and exhibitions being held by YSD’s beneficiaries and partners namely the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Borneo Rhino Alliance, Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephant, Danau Girang Field Centre, South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), Nestle Malaysia, Global Environment Centre with Sahabat Hutan Gambut Selangor Utara, Reef Check Malaysia and the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme.

Some of the child-friendly activities were “DIY Reef Fish using Carton and Eggs” by Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) and recyclable art competition, crossword puzzle challenge and environmental quizzes. Among the topics presented by YSD beneficiaries were on “Maximising the Economic Benefits of Oil Palm Plantations while minimising their Environmental Impacts: SAFE Project” by South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), “Moving Towards a Science-Driven Conservation of Malaysian Elephant” by University of Nottingham Malaysia’s Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephant (MEME) Project.

In his speech, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said: “Each and everyone of us need to be at the forefront of protecting and conserving our biodiversity. It is our choice and for us to decide. Otherwise in 50 years, we will only be able to see the Orangutans and other endangered wildlife species in movies and pictures.”

YSD Governing Council Member Ms Caroline Christine Russell also said, “Our vigorous support in various areas of environmental conservation has spurred us to carry out today’s event - to increase the awareness and understanding of our country’s rich biodiversity and the importance of its protection.

“In line with this year’s world environment day theme, “Go Wild for Life” to stop the illegal wildlife trade, the Foundation is a major advocate of its “Big 9” project, an initiative to conserve animal species that are classified as endangered or vulnerable. We work collaboratively with reputable NGOs and Governmental bodies to save these endangered species from extinction through continuous research, conservation and awareness programmes.”

In his speech, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Abdul Rahman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Science and Sustainability from UCSF, which is the co-host of the YSD Environment Day said, “Let us all be reminded of our duty to live in a way that does not undermine the capacity of our environment to sustain our existence and that of the future generations. The most important development challenge of our time is to ensure that we do not lose the future for the present.”

Since 2009, the Foundation has committed RM129 million under its Environment pillar for conservation initiatives and environmental projects out of which RM81 million is for projects in Sabah.

One of the exhibitors at the YSD Environment Day 2016. 

Visiting the exhibition booths during the Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Environment Day. YSD CEO Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin (second from left), Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun (third from left) with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) mascot and CEO Mr Wong Siew Te. 

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Last Updated:
14 Dec 2017
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