Project Deep Forest


Collaborators: Danau Girang Field Centre, EcoHealth Alliance, Sabah Wildlife Department

Status: Ongoing

Deforestation is the permanent destruction of forests to make the land available for other uses such as agricultural and farm expansion, urban planning and extractive industries. Thousands of wildlife species rely on the delicate ecosystems created by the richly bio-diverse forest environments. Deforestation and human encroachment displace these species and force heightened interaction between people and animals, indicating a high potential for disease transmission.

EcoHealth Alliance, Sabah Wildlife Department and DGFC, through the Wildlife Health Unit, have sampled species (rodents, bats, small mammals and monkeys) for pathogens in the Kinabatangan along a deforestation gradient, looking at areas with no deforestation, some deforestation, and areas where once pristine forests have been completely removed. Brazil and Uganda are the other two countries involved in the Project Deep Forest.

Since 2011, DGFC has actively collaborated with the EcoHealth Alliance on zoonotic diseases. In addition, several training courses on zoonotic pathogens and primate sampling, as well as safety and biosecurity protocols, have been organised and attended by staff from DGFC.