Over the years, the geographic scope of our surveys expanded. In 1981, a survey of the proposed Lanjak-Entimau Sanctuary in Sarawak led to it becoming a sanctuary 2 years after. The project pioneered both aerial surveys of orang-utan populations and conservation community work.
The survey was followed up, in collaboration with the Sarawak Forest Department, with proposals to establish Batang Ai and Pulong Tau National Parks. These efforts were fully supported by the local Dayak people.
By the mid-1980s, WWF was helping government agencies with full-fledged conservation programmes. Meanwhile, similar efforts were carried out across the border in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
The picture widens
As the 1980s drew to a close, WWF’s conservation work began focussing on specific socio-economic issues. For example, in 1989 we helped the Forest Department to evaluate the impact of selective logging on the wildlife and people of Sarawak’s hill dipterocarp forests.
As a result of this effort, the State Government took up a WWF proposal and gave powers to the local people through an Honorary Wildlife Rangers scheme that has very recently been replicated in Sabah.
We have also helped other conservation organizations get started. Since the early 1980s, WWF-Malaysia co-operated closely with the Wildlife Conservation Society
(WCS), helping to establish WCS in Sarawak through joint work on mangrove conservation and training of young professionals. By the 1990s, WCS had a full-fledged programme running in the State, which continues to this day to play a very important role for the future of Sarawak’s wildlife.