The announcement was made at the Sabah Forestry Department’s international conference titled, Heart of Borneo + 5 and beyond:shaping and nurturing Sabah's future together, held at Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Malua BioBank, Sabah Government and the four companies are pioneering a new approach to protect wildlife from illegal hunting in Sabah as this remains a significant threat in the state.
The Malua Wildlife Conservation Agreement is the first step in implementing the findings of a study funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council that identified that it will take a co-operative effort to prevent illegal hunting and poaching occurring in the Malua forest reserve.
"By working in partnership with the plantation companies on the reserve’s northern boundary, we can help prevent access to the reserve for illegal hunters. Combined with the work of our Protection Unit, which staffs the key access points 24/7, we should be able to totally eliminate all hunting pressure on this invaluable natural area," said Darius Sarshar, Director of New Forests Asia, which manages the Biobank.
The partnership will focus on improving boundary security within the plantations, recruiting and training oil palm workers as Honorary Wildlife Wardens, managing human-wildlife conflicts, and improving environmental awareness of workers and their children living in the oil palm plantations.
Sabah Forestry Department Director Datuk Sam Mannan said, “this Agreement is a positive step forward and demonstrates how the palm oil industry can play its part and work with partners to better protect Sabah’s globally significant biodiversity.”
Malua BioBank is an innovative conservation project covering 34,000 hectares of lowland rainforest, which aims to protect wildlife, including through the prevention of illegal hunting. The Agreement recognises the importance of the palm oil industry to work with partners to ensure that Sabah’s significant biodiversity is protected.
Malua Biobank is supported by WWF as a ‘forest solution for a green economy in the Heart of Borneo’. Companies and individuals can contribute directly to the project through the purchase of Malua’s Biodiversity Conservation Certificates (BCCs). This provides a unique opportunity for companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and protection of Borneo’s rainforest. The sale of each BCC funds the restoration and protection of a 100-square meter area of Malua rainforest. For more details visit www.maluabiobank.com