Awareness on wildlife conservation in Sabah
KOTA KINABALU: Children at the Kinabatangan in Sabah’s east coast region are being taught about the wildlife found at their backyards such as the elusive clouded Sunda leopard as part of a long term efforts in their conservation.
The outreach programme undertaken by the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and research NGO Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) kicked off at several schools in the Kinabatangan area.
The programme wss one of the major components of their large conservation project on Sunda clouded leopard and carnivores supported by Sime Darby Foundation. Additional support and education training is provided by Point Defiance Zoo in the USA.
“I visited SK Kuala Suan Lamba in Kinabatangan in early September. It was the first time that an outreach programme was carried out at the school,” explained Clarice Kelly Samih, DGFC education officer and a local Sabahan.
“Last May, I spent three weeks in Tacoma Washington, US, at the Point Defiance Zoo where I designed an education kit and the whole module under the guidance of Karen Povey, Associate Curator of Education and Conservation at the Zoo,” added Clarice.
“The children, aged 10 and 11, responded so well to the module. I taught them about the food chain activity and gave them a presentation on Sabah’s felids before they learned about what makes the clouded leopard the perfect predator through the demonstration of a nicely designed leopard costume,” she said.
“Through this outreach programme, we hope the kids will gain a better understanding and support for conservation efforts to preserve our beautiful clouded leopard and other carnivores, especially in the Kinabatangan region,” concluded Clarice.
DGFC director Dr Benoit Goosens said two Kinabatangan schools were initially involved in the outreach effort with a third to be added early next year.
“We are able to carry out this original education programme thanks to the major donation SWD and DGFC received from the Sime Darby Foundation as part of their Big 9 scheme,” he added.
“It was crucial for the Foundation to include an education component in our conservation programme of the Sunda clouded leopard,” Goossens said.
He said children involved in the programme will spend two days and one night at DGFC next month to have a chance to “feel” the forest, encounter wild animals and meet with local and foreign scientists and learn from them.
“I’m very excited about this as I feel that DGFC should play a part not only in educating young local and international students but also giving the opportunity to young Sabahans to learn about the nature that is at their doorsteps,” added Goossens.
SWD Wildlife officer in charge of education Nurain Acheh said the programme was important for young Sabahans to learn about wildlife, for example the clouded leopard, and the significance of wildlife.
“Through this programme, it is the department’s hope that the young generation will respect and protect their nature and practice a green lifestyle,” she said.
- The Star