KOTA KINABALU – A five-year biodiversity conservation initiative will go towards re-establishment, restoring river bank reserves and putting in place forest corridors in the Lower Kinabatangan Mega Biodiversity Corridor.
The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV), the world’s largest producer of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) with Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) entailed collaborations towards this end.
The RM1.7 million project aimed to secure and restore all key migratory routes for the wildlife to safely migrate between pockets of forests in the lower Kinabatangan basin.
The move will also provide an alternative livelihood for the local communities living along the Kinabatangan river through a sustainable community eco-tourism program.
FGV through its wholly owned subsidiary, Pontian United Plantations Berhad (PUP) inked an agreement with BCT, witnessed by Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, FGV Group President cum Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah and Chairman of Borneo Conservation Trust, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
The ceremony saw BCT Honorary Secretary, Datuk Dr. Laurentius Ambu and FGV Head of Plantations (East Malaysia) Denys Collin Munang signing a Memorandum of Agreement Joint Venture to re-establish a Mega Biodiversity Corridor in Lower Kinabatangan Basin project.
The initiative is to ensure the survival of animal that remains at risk due to limitation of suitable habitat and conflict with human. Animals migrating through the Lower Kinabatangan Basin include the indigenous Borneo pygmy elephants, Orang Utans and proboscis monkeys.
FGV Head of Plantations (East Malaysia) Denys Collin Munang said that the project reflects FGV’s commitment to sustainable practices in business.
Munang added that FGV will continue its collaboration with BCT and Sabah Wildlife Department in linking the wildlife corridor while at the same time support the socio-economic development of the local community residing along the corridor.
“This includes supporting the wildlife,education, livelihood to the local communities, implementation of awareness programmes and to promotions of eco-tourism in the area,” he said.
Munang stated that the project needed at least 9,000 hectares.
Talking to the reporters after the MoU, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun thanked FGV and BCT for their support in the re-establishment and restoration of the eco-system.
“The state government welcome efforts and support such us today as this initiative could enhance the state and country’s image in wildlife and biodiversity conservation,” he said.
According to Masidi, it is estimated that there are over 300 pygmy elephants and 800 orang-utans presently inhabiting in the lower Kinabatangan Basin.- SayangSabah