Sarawak Conservation Programme (SCP)

Sarawak Conservation Programme (SCP)

Photo credit: © WWF-Malaysia

The Rajang Delta ©Lukman Haqeem Alen/ WWF-Malaysia

Programme Overview

The Sarawak Conservation Programme (SCP) works closely with the government, private sector and other non-governmental organisations to improve natural resource management in Sarawak. The programme also works with communities to empower them in co-managing and utilising natural resources in sustainable ways. 

Our work focuses on forests, wildlife and freshwater ecosystems. We work in three priority areas, namely Ai-Sedilu Orangutan Landscape, Rajang Basin Freshwater Protection Landscape and Northern Sarawak Connectivity Landscape and aim to:

  • Increase protected areas, reduce forest conversion and degradation;
  • Improve management of watershed and protection of life in rivers; and
  • Reduce hunting and poaching of threatened species such as the hornbill, pangolin and sun bear.

Success Stories

WWF-Malaysia and volunteers standing in front of the mural featuring four species of

hornbills at Chung Hua Middle School No. 3. (Photo Credit: © WWF-Malaysia)

01

Educating the Young Through Mural Painting

Mural painting at schools is an opportunity to educate students and the public on the importance of conserving our forests and wildlife. 

With the help from two local artists, Jacinta Chan and Kho Ah Thong, WWF-Malaysia embarked on its mural painting project in selected schools. The first mural depicting Sarawak’s hornbills were drawn at Chung Hua Middle School No.3, Kuching in August 2019. The mural featured the rhinoceros hornbill, white-crowned hornbill, wreathed hornbill and wrinkled hornbill. 

In October 2019, what used to be an empty wall at SMK Green Road, Kuching was transformed into a mural, featuring seven species of civets, namely masked palm civet, small-toothed palm civet, Hose’s civet, banded linsang, banded civet, Malay civet and bearcat (binturong). Students, including former students, and teachers assisted in the mural painting. 

These murals will improve knowledge, and can be an inspiration and motivation for students, parents and teachers to help conserve our forests and wildlife through positive daily actions. These initiatives were published in the media, and we hope that the coverage will influence the authorities and decision makers to give more attention to wildlife conservation.

02

Advancing State’s Forest Policies: Asia Pacific Forestry Week 2019

The Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019 presented an opportunity to showcase efforts made by Sarawak towards forest sustainability. Held in Incheon, Korea from 17 to 21 June 2019, the Forestry Departments of Sarawak and Sabah together with WWF-Malaysia participated in the event, including a partner event entitled “Towards Sustainability of Timber Production in Malaysia Borneo: Sarawak Forestry Policies to Ensure Sustainability of Forest Resources”. 

Datu Hamden Mohammed, Director of Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) made a presentation on “The Century of Forestry in Sarawak” which provided insights into past and future efforts of the government in forestry sustainability. Other presentations by the department included forest landscape restoration plans and the Heart of Borneo initiative. 

The Head of Conservation Sarawak Dr Jason Hon also presented on WWF-Malaysia’s forestry and conservation agenda in Sarawak, and facilitated the 1.5-hour long panel, including the honour to present the summary during the closing session. The event solidified the efforts made by WWF-Malaysia and Forest Department of Sarawak in advancing good forest policies to promote timber legality and sustainability, as well as moving towards the 6 million hectare target of permanent forest estates.

Dr Jason Hon from WWF-Malaysia making a presentation at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week 2019.

(Photo Credit: © Mohd Ridzwan / FDS)

In early 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) supported the FDS in a study to conduct gap assessments of the reduced impact logging guidelines and to recommend improvements benchmarked against international and regional standards. 

As of June 2020, a total of 955,676 hectares of forest management units have been certified as compared to only 561,703 hectares one year before that. About 91% of certified sites are within the Heart of Borneo.

© Hafida Bolhen / WWF-Malaysia

Semah (left) is the state fish of Sarawak. While, Empurau or Kelah (right), is regarded as the king of riverine fish in Malaysia. (Photo credit: © Hafida Bolhen / WWF-Malaysia)

03

Sungai Kain Fish Conservation Project

Sungai Kain in the upper reaches of Rajang in Baleh is a river of High Conservation Value for Tor species, locally known as semah and empurau

After a successful assessment on the river and fish stocks by Inland Fisheries Division (IFD) of the Department of Agriculture Sarawak and WWF-Malaysia, the communities from Rumah Engsong and Rumah Gare agreed to implement tagang to conserve Sungai Kain and its fish stock. Tagang is a community-based conservation approach to limit fishing activities and implement sustainable fishing through a zoning system.

The communities have set up a tagang committee. The functions are to:

  • Ensure there are shared responsibilities and ownership among them over the tagang;
  • Set up an agreed system of rules and penalties as part of their management;
  • Make sure their river is clean and protected from any form of destruction and pollution; and
  • Keep out anyone from illegally fishing in the prohibited area.

04

Community Participation in Conservation Through Panda CLICK!

The Panda CLICK! which started in June 2018, was completed 10 months later with huge success. This interactive communications and conservation programme for communities through photography involved 19 villagers from the districts of Song and Bukit Mabong. They shared perspectives of their lives through photographs, capturing images of cultures, life, experiences living with nature, and challenges such as changes to flora, fauna and traditions caused by unsustainable practices. 

Participants enthusiastically snapped about 50,000 photos. Of these, 130 photos were selected to be published into a 196-page coffee table book entitled, Warna-Warni Borneo: Panda CLICK! Bersama Masyarakat Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan Barat dan Kapit, Sarawak (Colours of Borneo: Panda CLICK! With Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan and Kapit, Sarawak Communities). The book is jointly published by WWF-Malaysia and WWF-Indonesia, written in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia. 

The book was launched by the Bukit Mabong District Officer Douglas Pungga on 17 December 2019, witnessed by our Board of Trustees Robert Basiuk and Rewi Bugo. Communities from Kapit and Kapuas Hulu were also present to share their experiences on learning new photography skills and their concerns and aspirations.

Panda CLICK! coffee table book, also available online (http://bit.ly/PandaClick)

(Photo credit: © Ezen Chan / WWF-Malaysia)

Image of Sunda clouded leopard captured with camera-trap. (Photo credit: © WWF-Malaysia)

05

Setting Camera Traps to Collect Wildlife Data

Good biodiversity data will guide better decision making processes. Our team is roughing it out in the vast jungle to deploy camera-traps that are left for up to a few months to remotely collect photographic data of wildlife. 

In February 2020, WWF-Malaysia and partner agencies for this project conducted a recce survey at the Baleh Wildlife Connectivity project site. This project is a collaboration between WWF-Malaysia, FDS, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, and Sarawak Energy Berhad to identify and set aside conservation areas for wildlife corridors connecting Baleh and Hose-Laga National Parks within the Baleh River Catchment. 

Prior to this, a camera-trap training workshop was successfully held on 7 August 2019 which saw the participation of partners and forest managers of the site. They also discussed the coordination of field work and standardisation of methods. The training was led by WWF-Malaysia and UNIMAS.