Friday, 14 May 2010

Oil palm industry players urged to set aside land for wildlife

Friday May 14, 2010

Oil palm industry players urged to set aside land for wildlife

By RUBEN SARIO The Star, Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: Oil palm industry players here are being asked to create forest corridors to enable wildlife such as orang utan and Borneo pygmy elephants to move within their habitats.

State NGO Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) officials will be meeting members of the East Malaysia Planters Association, Malaysian Palm Oil Council and Malaysian Palm Oil Board to seek their help.

(The Sabah government was instrumental in setting up BCT four years ago to preserve the habitat and migration route of Borneo’s wildlife, especially along the Kina¬batangan and Segama rivers.)

Newly appointed chairman Tan Sri Ibrahim Menuddin said the BCT had so far acquired 20ha of alienated land at a cost of nearly RM600,000 from donations for the creation of the forest corridors.

Speaking after chairing the BCT board meeting here yesterday, he said the BCT was encouraged by a plantation’s move to set aside 1,000ha of riverine land near the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and rehabilitate the area by planting it with jungle fruit trees for the benefit of wildlife there.
Ibrahim said it was helpful to have prominent oil palm players, such as TSH Resources Bhd chief executive Datuk Kelvin Tan and Wilmar International Ltd group head Jeremy Goon, on the BCT board.

“We want to show the world that oil palm plantations and wildlife can co-exist side by side,” he said.

The long-term goal of BCT was to get some 13,000ha of land to be converted into forest corridors, said Ibrahim, who is Suria Capital Bhd chairman.

Others on the board are Japanese businessman Yasuke Saraya, Sabah Forest Department director Datuk Sam Mannan and state Wildlife Department Laurentius Ambu