Thursday, July 18

First run to save Bornean elephants

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KOTA KINABALU: The first “Save the Bornean Elephants Run” to create public awareness on the importance of conserving the habitat for Bornean elephants in Sabah attracted around 2,500 runners here yesterday.

The event, organised by Wildlife Alliance (Borneo) Sdn Bhd and Valiant Event Entertainment, was officiated by Sabah Wildlife Department deputy director Jumrafiah Abd Shukor and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd executive director Ngu Ngiong Hieng.

It was also jointly supported by KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd, Felda Global Venture (FGV), Kwantas Corporation Berhad, Jurukur Luaran and Associates, Directors, Proboscis Lodge Bukit Melapi, Montanic Adventures and Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa.

The 11km run took place along the beautiful coastal roads in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, starting at the Likas Stadium parking area to the roundabout near Jesselton Hotel and then to the roundabout near the Likas Mosque before returning to Likas Stadium.

The categories were Mens Open, Womens Open, Veteran Mens Open (41 years old and above), Veteran Womens Open (41 years and above), Boys Below 17 Years and Girls Below 17 Years.

Fabian Daimon Osman won the Men’s Open, Wincentbert Latius second and Imaldy Zakin third. The top three winners of the Womens Open were Katie OBrien, Roziana Ramlee and Mailin Salungin respectively.

The Mens Veteran winner was Yusop Tunkob with Guianus Salagan and Ahmadul Tahir the first and second runners-up respectively. Taking the first prize in the Women Veteran

was Kona Liau with Chong Vun Lung second and Hamisah Antahar third.

Refson Tirip, Gregory Cornelius and Elvin Lazarus were the top three winners of the Boys Below 17 Years and Erristiana Joel, Jenny Kissin and Dewanty David the winners of the Girls Below 17 years.

The overall winner of the school category was SMK Tanbunan.

Dr Raymond Alfred, the race director and programme advisor, said that the aims of the charity run were to enhance the knowledge of the public in wildlife conservation, especially the Bornean elephants through information dissemination.

It was also to raise fund to support the publication of the research and reference book on Population, Ecology and Conservation of Bornean Elephants.

This book presents the key findings of the first systematic attempt to study the Bornean elephant, 10 years of research using a range of techniques ranging from on-the-ground observation to sophisticated satellite tracking, followed by detailed and complex analysis of the information gathered.

The prime aims of the study were to estimate the elephants home range size in Sabah; examine feeding behaviour; investigate the availability of plant species; determine suitable habitats; obtain an accurate and estmate the current population size, and look at the role of oil palm and timber industries, as well as of local communities.

The Bornean elephant is one of the flagship species in Malaysia, and its successful conservation will ensure the survival of most species which are found within its large home range.

The maintenance of a viable population of the Bornean elephant will make an important contribution to the conservation of biodiversity.

It is hoped that this book will also make a contribution by increasing awareness of the needs of the Bornean elephant, and the threats faced by this magnificent animal.

Meanwhile, Dr Raymond expressed his appreciation to all the runners, including three Miss Global International Malaysia 2015 winners, namely Immaculate Lojuki, Tanisha Kaur and Livonia Ricky.

The run will not be successful without the cooperation from Borneo Conservation Trust, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Sabah Amatuer Radio Society, Royal Malaysian Police, Sabah Wildlife Department, ER Sport, 100 Plus, Red Crescent Society and volunteers from Institut Sinaran, Kota Kinabalu.

Dr Alfred hoped the runners would also participate in the Wild Run on October 4 in conjunction with World Animal Day 2015 and also The Rhino X-Run on December 6.