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BCT undertaking Green Corridor initiative
Published on: Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kota Kinabalu: The Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) is undertaking the Borneo Green Corridor (BGC) initiative in the Kinabatangan and Segama riverine areas of Sabah to re-connect fragmented forest areas and wildlife reserves to help wildlife thrive.Its Chief Executive Officer Cyril Pinso said these areas had been identified as active wildlife migration routes by BCT, a non-governmental organisation promoted by Sabah's Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

The Kinabatangan and Segama areas had seen an increase in local communities and rapid expansion of oil palm plantations, Pinso said at the close of the two-day International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference, here, Tuesday.

Increasing human activity and oil palm plantations had become physical impediments to wildlife like the orang-utan and Borneo pygmy elephant as they were unable to transverse to their traditional migration routes in search of food, he said.

Without proper planning and intervention, Pinso said, the population of these totally protected species would be under heavy threat of further destruction.

According to Darrel Webber of WWF, Malaysia, there are 104

villages in the Kinabatangan basin and 13 villages in the Kinabatangan floodplain whose inhabitants undertake fishing, arming, hunting and logging activities.

He said there were also 30 palm oil mills in the Kinabatangan basin which had been known to release untreated effluent.

Pinso said the BGC project would attempt to connect fragmented forest and wildlife reserves along rivers to re-establish contiguous and natural migratory pathways for wildlife.

For lands which are within the riverine reserves, plans are afoot to get various stakeholders to agree to re-establish their natural vegetation.

Todate, Pinso said, BCT had successfully purchased a two-hectare bottleneck land within the BGC costing RM53,000 from donations from 60 Japanese individuals, and had established a rescue and animal rehabilitation centre to be known as the Borneo Wildlife Centre (BWC).

On Monday, the BCT teamed up with the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and Bursa Malaysia to participate in a six-month project to help verify the estimated number of orang-utan in Sabah.

The orang-utan is only found in Borneo and Sumatra and there are an estimated 48,000 orang-utans in the wild.

Sabah is estimated to have an orang-utan population of 11,000, about a fifth of the total orang-utan population of 41,000 in Borneo, while Sarawak is estimated to have 1,000 orang-utans.

The Government together with palm oil industry players have also launched the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF), a RM20 million revolving fund to be administered by the MPOC, to undertake wildlife and biodiversity conservation in the country.-Bernama



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