KOTA KINABALU: Sabah-based wildlife researcher Dr Benoit Goossens believes that Borneo Wildlife Preservation (BWP), a US-based non-governmental organisation, is sincere in contributing to the conservation projects in Sabah.
The Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) director said BWP was already involved in some conservation projects on sun bears and proboscis monkeys in Kalimantan.
“I believe their intentions are genuine,” said Dr Goossens, adding that he had been in contact with BWP representatives over the past several months.
BWP came into the limelight for a video titled The World’s Smallest Elephants Need Your Help on its Facebook, which misrepresented the situation of Sabah’s Bornean elephants.
The video claimed to highlight the seemingly devastated situation faced by the elephants in Sabah while it did not even feature elephants from the state.
Wildlife researchers added that the 60-second clip also did not reflect the elephant conservation efforts in Sabah.
Dr Goossens said he had advised BWP on the matter, and BWP has taken the video down.
“They informed me that the video was made by another party not affiliated with them,” he added.
He said BWP intended to visit Sabah in November, during which they hoped to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Borneo Conservation Trust to help out on various conservation projects, including those involving Bornean elephants.
SWD director Augustine Tuuga said the department did not recognise BWP’s efforts as the conservation group had not officially contacted them.
He added that BWP had not discussed the contents of their promotional materials with the wildlife department.
Tuuga said they welcomed any local or international organisations with genuine intentions and with proper credentials to assist the government in biodiversity conservation in Sabah, both technically and financially.
“This has to be done in an official manner, through the departments and ministries concerned,” he said.
Tuuga added that BWP may have communicated with SWD officers through email, but unless and until it goes through the proper channels, SWD will not recognise it as the department’s official partner.