Sunday, July 11, 2010

Firm builds habitat links for wildlife

Borneo Post
July 10, 2010

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife footprints were recently spotted on soil covered culvert crossings that were built by an oil palm plantation at Kinabatangan, an ecologically sensitive area.Malbumi Group of Companies constructed nine concrete culvert crossings to connect drains and rivers within Lot 1 of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to enable wildlife to cross from one side of the sanctuary to another.

We felt sorry for disturbing their natural habitat when we proceeded with our plantations. Thus, to clear our conscience and to make it positive, we now hope to do our best in taking good care of them,” said Edward Ang, the managing director of Malbumi Group of Companies.

He said when Malbumi first started clearing land in 1995 he noticed that there were wildlife like orang-utans, proboscis monkeys and Borneo pygmy elephants on its land.

According to him, the company has helped in freeing a herd of 15 to 20 elephants trapped in a pool.

“With supervision from the wildlife authority, we managed to free the elephants using heavy machinery like bulldozers and excavators,” he said.

“Malaysia has been a major palm oil producer over the years and this is because we are situated in an environment that permits us to do so. We must continuously do our best to protect the environment so that we can continue to produce the best palm oil efficiently,” Ang said.

Malbumi has been studying the WWF-Malaysia “Kinabatangan–Corridor of Life” project to learn how to best manage wildlife found within and close to its estates.

The estates that cover about 5,200 hectares (13,000 acres) is situated near Sukau and Sungai Tenegang which are adjacent to Lot 1 of the wildlife sanctuary, and is also close to Lokan that lies next to the Segaliud Lokan forest reserve.

Ang said the palm oil industry has reaped good harvest in recent years, and that it would be good if the planters along the Kinabatangan River to donate a small portion of their revenue to help the Sabah Wildlife Department and NGOs like WWF-Malaysia to sustain the viability of wildlife populations in the country.

“Malbumi is also considering becoming a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) once it ventures into palm oil mills with its partners,” said Ang.

A workshop on RSPO organised recently in Sandakan by WWF-Malaysia and the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) was informative.

Ang said that the workshop gave him and his team better insight on how to best set higher standards in tackling environmental issues and ways to improve protection of wildlife.

When asked what advice he had for other palm oil companies in Kinabatangan, he said, “Only humans have the power and ability to ensure the future of wildlife, so we need to start making that difference.”

Malbumi is also supporting a reforestation programme adjacent to its plantation, and has to date supplied and planted 2,000 native forest tree seedlings at the riparian areas. The company has spent RM200,000 on its wildlife conservation programme, including funds used to purchase machinery and materials to help the Sabah Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisations create a more sustainable environment for the wildlife located in these areas.

Ang concluded by saying, “In today’s business world, it’s important to take care of the environment. Businesses and the environment are very similar to the story of the goose laying the golden egg. The “goose” is the environment, and if it is not cared for, we will one day lose our businesses, or “golden eggs”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting....I've read about this "Corridor of Life" and I think this a good example by Malbumi company giving something back to the the earth. Kudos to them