Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bornean Banteng Action Plan proposed for Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The final chapter of Yayasan Sime Darby’s research conservation projects with the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) will begin with a two-day workshop attended by subject matter experts aimed at conserving the Bornean banteng.

International and local scientists, governmental agencies as well as industry players will convene until  December 1 to save the iconic and endemic species to Sabah, months after proposing recommendations towards the conservation of two other species – the proboscis monkey and Sunda clouded leopard.

Recommendations will be proposed to protect the Bornean banteng based on findings of a five-year extensive state-wide survey conducted by DGFC and SWD.

A Bornean Banteng Action Plan for Sabah will then be drafted based on the proposed recommendations gleaned from the workshop. It will be validated by the IUCN Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group before being submitted to the State Government for approval.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said he hoped that the Sabah state government will adopt the Bornean Banteng Action Plan for implementation to save the species, which is threatened by heavy poaching, habitat loss, road development and forest fragmentation in Sabah.

Last month, three bantengs were poached by hunters in three protected areas in Sabah in the space of three days.

“At that rate of poaching, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran rhinoceros,?he said.

“During this project, DGFC, in collaboration with SWD and Sabah Forestry Department, carried out surveys using camera traps in several protected and unprotected areas throughout the state.

“We currently have four, maybe five isolated populations of banteng, one on the west coast, one or two in central Sabah, one in the south-east and one in the north-east of Sabah. The total population is estimated to be around 400 to 500 individuals, making the Bornean banteng the most endangered large mammal in Sabah?", added Goossens.