Monday, May 23

German experts to help in animal conservation


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu hoped that with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Leipziq Zoo (LZ) and the state government, it would further enhance the progress to prevent the loss of biodiversity in the state.

He said the department would be working hand-in-hand with the experts from IZW and LZ from Germany to prevent extinction of Asian mammals, particularly rhinos.

“With the expertise from Germany, we hope the reproduction of rhinos could be managed properly,” he told reporters after the signing of the MoU with the IZW and Leipzig Zoo at the Wildlife Department office yesterday.

He added that they had been cooperating with the IZW for several years to conduct research on the conservation needs of the threatened Bornean carnivores.

“This initiative has raised international attention through the re-discovery of the hairy-nosed otter in Sabah after over 100 years. With the MoU signed today (yesterday), this partnership will expand to other Borneon flagship species such as the Sumatran rhino,” he said.

With the good relationship between Malaysia and Germany, Dr Laurentius believes there would be more support from other European countries to cooperate in preventing the loss of biodiversity in Sabah.

He said with the cooperation of the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) and the Malaysia Wildlife Department, the department had started a comprehensive conservation programme to protect and breed these impressive rhinos.

“The Borneon Rhino Rescue Programme was jointly funded by the government through the Sabah Development Corridor and Yayasan Sime Darby.

“Yayasan Sime Darby has been very instrumental in  initialising the Rhino Rescue Programme here in Sabah,” he added.

He said the IZW would continue to help in this programme with its scientific expertise in assisted reproduction techniques and the Leipzig Zoo would contribute its skills in animal husbandry and will train the local staff in handling the animals properly.

Also present were Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) director Professor Dr Heribert Hofer DPhil, Dr Petra Kretzschmar from IZW and a representative from Leipzig Zoo Frank Oberwemmer.