KOTA KINABALU: Conservationist and major oil palm plantations are taking steps towards restoring river bank reserves and putting in place forest corridors in the Lower Kinabatangan Mega Biodiversity Corridor.
The move is to ensure the survival of 300 Bornean elephants that remains at risk due to limitation of suitable habitat and human-elephant conflict.
Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) chairman Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said the BCT had met with Felda Global Ventures (FGV) and the Sabah Wildlife Department to outline various tasks to save the elephants from any further threat under the Sabah Mega Biodiversity Corridor Project.
The project on the east-southern part of Sabah covers the Kinabatangan and Segama river catchments.
It aims to secure and restore all key migratory route to reduce human-elephant conflicts.
Other than that, it also identifies alternative approaches that would support the management of
existing natural forest as well as corridor for wildlife and biodiversity.
Dompok said the key corridor in the project will act as a ‘link’ that will allow the flagship species to migrate between key habitat areas.
“We hope to garner financial and technical support from all the corporate sectors and private companies through the project,” he said, adding that there are some 2,000 Bornean elephants found throughout Sabah.
“There is a need for the State to take the lead role in supporting the re-establishment and restoration of the key corridors and enhance the state and country’s image in wildlife and biodiversity conservation,” he added.
FGV subsidiary Pontian United Plantations Bhd (PUP) group chief executive officer Denys Collin Munang said the PUP was involved in conservation work at the Lower Kinabatangan since early 2000 with the WWF-Malaysia.
Munang added that PUP would continue its collaboration with BCT and SWD in linking the wildlife corridor while at the same time support the socio-economic development of the local community residing along the corridor.
The company in principle had agreed to provide support to the protection and management of riparian reserve at the PUP and FGV Plantation Ecosystem.
This includes supporting the wildlife, livelihood to the local
communities, implementation of awareness programmes for children, professionals and the corporate sector.