The Malaysian state of Sabah is home to around 11,000 orangutans, and a number of endemic birds, a significant percentage of which reside in the Kinabatangan Floodplain which is under intense pressure due to habitat fragmentation and deforestation for agriculture, namely oil palm production.
The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is an area of exceptional biodiversity and its protection is key to the future survival of many other species including the endemic proboscis monkey, Bornean elephant and hundreds of endemic birds.
Working alongside conservation organisation HUTAN, our support for the various projects in the region approach conservation holistically, combining scientific research with education and protection and management of wildlife habitat. Local communities are heavily involved in project activities, with the ultimate aim of providing sustainable solutions for the long term survival of orangutans and the people who live alongside them. To this end, employment of local community members in the project and education staff has continued to be a focus of our support.
Connecting the fragmented habitat is a long term goal, and strategies so far have included the reforestation of sites and the erection of orangutan bridges to facilitate movement of primates around the sanctuary. Eight species of hornbill inhabit the Kinabatangan region and research is ongoing into the ecology of these species following an initial rapid assessment of the hornbill population in 2012.
Artificial nest boxes have been constructed and erected and are currently being trialled in the forest; data on their use will be used to guide further developments into this project. Our support extends to a health advisory role for wildlife disease and biosecurity protocols.
We have been working closely with HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project, an organisation located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, for over a decade now to make a difference and helpprotect orangutans. The critically endangered Bornean orangutan is one of only two great ape species found in Asia – the other being the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan.
The Asian Songbird Crisis Summit brings together bird experts from all over – from zoo curators and keepers, leaders in bird taxonomy and conservation, experts in field ornithology, tropical bird ecology, avian genetics and wildlife trade. All are there for one reason: to help find ways to protect and conserve South East Asia’s songbirds. Our Curator of Birds, Andrew Owen, tells us his story…
The question we are most often asked when we talk about sustainable palm oil is: what does a sustainable oil palm plantation look like? There is no single definition of sustainable palm oil. 85% of palm oil is grown in Indonesia and Malaysia, and both countries have mandatory national standards for growing oil palm. Voluntary standards are also in place to improve standards of sustainable palm oil; these schemes vary in their aims and criteria which makes understanding sustainable palm oil a bit of a headache!
We’re working tirelessly at the zoo and with our partners in the field to do all we can to try and save the species before it disappears forever. We started the first ever European conservation breeding programme for the Javan green magpie in December last year.