| Bornean Orangutan © HUTAN
|Pygmy Elephant © HUTAN|
| Proboscis Monkey © HUTAN
Last October, Rainforest Trust began an urgent project with our UK partner, World Land Trust, and our Malaysian partner to protect an important portion of rainforest on the island of Borneo that provides critical habitat for the island’s endangered Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant populations. Thanks to generous support from Rainforest Trust and World Land Trust supporters, a total of $1,422,690 has been raised for the 1.5 million dollar project.
The timely collection of these funds has already made a critical difference for Borneo’s wildlife. Of the 26 riverine parcels needed to complete this project, 19 have already been bought and saved. Meanwhile, the local partner is currently negotiating the purchase of the remaining seven. Once these riverbank properties –considered to be of the highest conservation value – are acquired, the local partner intends to purchase up to 11 more properties to continue expanding the corridor.
Our joint fundraising efforts have also had a positive influence on the local partner’s governmental partners who have responded enthusiastically to the news. In a show of support, the Sabah Wildlife Department has pledged to provide as much assistance as possible.
Last year, the local partner identified a critical parcel of forest on the island of Borneo destined for destruction by the island’s booming palm oil industry. The 400-acre parcel, however, plays a critically important function for wildlife as it links the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and the Keruak Jungle Reserve. Without this corridor, Orangutan populations in each reserve would be effectively isolated, limiting mating opportunities, and ultimately jeopardizing the possibility of long-term survival of both populations.
Aware of the immediate threats facing the area, Rainforest Trust and World Land Trust took swift action, pledging to raise funds necessary to protect as much of the corridor as possible.
The lowland region surrounding the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is recognized as one of the most biodiverse regions in Southeast Asia. Despite the increased encroachment of oil palm plantations, this unique area hosts more primate species than any other location in Borneo. The ten primates found there include the Bornean Orangutan, Bornean Gibbon and Proboscis Monkey.