River Keeper Unit


Collaborators: Danau Girang Field Centre, HUTAN & Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD)

Status: Completed

From 2013 to 2015, a River Keeper Unit was established through a collaboration between the SWD, the NGO HUTAN and DGFC. It consisted of a team of two local honorary wildlife wardens who monitored wildlife and its threats along the river and within the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The unit conducted day and night patrols to monitor and prevent illegal activities such as encroachment into riparian reserves and illegal logging and hunting. It also monitored tourism activities along the Kinabatangan River stopping any boat approaching the elephants too closely or tourists from disembarking on forbidden areas of the riparian corridor.

The collaboration with the NGO HUTAN goes back to before DGFC was established. HUTAN has been running the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP) since 1996. Their intensive study site is in Lot 2 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. KOCP’s site is a 4 km2 forest area where KOCP research assistants conduct behavioural observations on habituated orang-utans.

HUTAN and Professor Benoît Goossens (Director of DGFC) began collaborating in 1999, and this continues today.

©Rudi Delvaux