Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saving paradise: the Heart of Borneo

The rainforests of Borneo and the seas of the Coral Triangle are two of the most spectacular and important places for wildlife in the world. That is why this year, WWF’s leaders have gathered in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah on the northern coast of the island of Borneo, to address how best to protect this fragile planet for the people and animals that share it.

Although we are spending three days meeting to discuss all aspects of WWF around the world, from Earth Hour to the Living Planet Report, fundraising to the world financial crisis, we cannot forget that right outside the door are the very places that have survived thanks in no small part to WWF.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman marine national park was established in 1974, the result of one of the very first WWF-Malaysia projects, and is immediately offshore to the north of where we are staying. I was lucky enough to sit next to Ken Scriven, now Vice-President Emeritus of WWF-Malaysia, at dinner on Monday evening. He helped found WWF-Malaysia back in 1972, and I heard about the adventures and challenges of those early days.

WWF-Malaysia still faces challenges, but as one of the most successful WWF offices it is now a highly respected and successful organisation. Today, the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine national park provides not only a safe place for marine life but a thriving marine tourism industry with divers and snorkellers, bird watchers and people who just want to sit on the beach, visiting and providing much needed income to local tour operators.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Saving paradise: the Heart of Borneo

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