KOTA KINABALU (Sept 6): Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation (MPOGCF), Sabah Wildlife Department and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) signed two memorandums on Wednesday, to survey and update the actual population of Borneo Elephants and Orangutans in Sabah.
Population surveys for both species were last carried out nine to 14 years ago. Therefore, there is an urgent need to have the latest population estimates for both Borneo Elephant and Orangutan species.
General manager of MPOGCF, Hairulazim Mahmud, said there is a need to study human-wildlife conflict for both species and devise a new paradigm for the awareness programme that has been carried out by Sabah Wildlife Department together with other stakeholders.
“This project also places emphasis on helping to build the capacity of local experts by providing training to young Malaysian scientists in the field of ecological conservation and wildlife through the funding of MSc programs at local university.
“MPOGCF hopes this research can assist stakeholders especially the Sabah Wildlife Department obtaining the latest population information of both species for the purpose of creating an action plan to provide direction and guidance on strategies, priorities and conservation actions for the endangered species at the state level.
“In addition, outcome from this project can provide crucial information with issues related to human-wildlife conflicts that occurred in oil palm plantation areas in Sabah,” he said during the event.
Hairulazim also said MPOGCF is planning to make the population surveys an official government document to debunk misconceptions and negative perceptions and ensure the continuity of the Malaysian palm oil industry on the global market.
The Bornean Elephant Population Survey (2023-2026) will be completed within three years with RM1.17 million allocation.
Meanwhile, the Bornean Orangutan Population Survey (2023-2025) with RM1.22 million allocation will be completed within two years.
Both population surveys are funded by MPOGCF.
Director of Sabah Wildlife Department, Augustine Tuuga said the department is hoping that both studies can help in the conservation programs of the two iconic species which are very important wildlife treasures in Sabah.
“The conservation of these two iconic species will be an umbrella for the conservation of wildlife species found in Sabah,” he said.
Tuuga’s speech was read by his deputy, Roland Oliver Niun.
After signing the research agreement and the memorandum of understanding, Roland witnessed the launch of a book titled ‘A Ten-Year Journey Savings Sabah’s – Wildlife Rescue Unit’.
Also present at the event were UMS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Prof (Ir) Dr Rosalam Sarbatly and Scientific Director of HUTAN, Dr Marc Acrenaz.