Danau Girang Field Centre
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Danau Girang Field Centre has been recognized by the Malaysian State Government of Sabah for its contribution to the conservation effort of its most valued areas of natural beauty.
Organised by the State government of Sabah, the "Sabah Tourism Awards 2013, a Tribute to Excellence" are held every two years to "honour individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to the development of the tourism industry in the State". This year, the seventh Edition of the Tourism Awards consisted of 12 categories encompassing 34 awards. The ceremony was officiated by Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, Sabah's Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary was awarded the Best Natural Destination in Sabah. Special Awards were given to organizations that are involved in the conservation of the natural wonders of this area, namely WWF-Malaysia, HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme, Homestay Associations of Abai, Batu Puteh, Bilit and Sukau villages and Cardiff University's Danau Girang Field Centre.
Danau Girang Field Centre is a collaborative research and training facility managed by Cardiff University and Sabah Wildlife Department.
It is situated in Lot 6 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah, Malaysia and is surrounded by a mixture of lowland dipterocarp forest types, ranging from primary forest to disturbed secondary forest, in a matrix landscape with significant human impact including villages, small scale agriculture and oil palm plantations.
The forest is divided into 10 lots, comprising fragmented sections of forest of varying sizes, bisected by the Kinabatangan river. It is thus an ideal location to study wildlife and the effects of anthropogenic habitat alteration on biodiversity.
Research on the genetics and demographics of the Sanctuary’s mammal species has been ongoing, mainly in collaboration with the NGO
HUTAN since 1999. Studies on the ecology and genetics of the orang-utan, Bornean elephant, proboscis monkey and long-tailed macaque are ongoing, involving Cardiff University, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, HUTAN, WWF Malaysia and other collaborators (Ancrenaz et al. 2004, 2005; Goossens et al. 2005, 2006a,b) yet much remains to be done and studies on the avifauna, herpetofauna, invertebrates and plants are surprisingly few. Examples of current research includes work on the elephant population (an endemic subspecies) and adaptive genetic variation in the primates of the Sanctuary but many opportunities exist for MSc, PhD and other projects within the sanctuary, subject to governmental and Danau Girang Field Centre Scientific Committee approval.
The centre provides facilities for field courses for the higher education sector, from overseas and within the Asia-Pacific region including Malaysia. Training in biodiversity assessment methods for trees, invertebrates (especially Lepidoptera and Coleoptera), reptiles and amphibians, birds (including ringing) and mammals (observation and tracking for both diurnal and nocturnal species) is available by arrangement. The facilities include a basic laboratory, a fully internet-linked computer laboratory, a lecture room and a library (see 'Facilities'). It is our intention that courses, wherever possible, contribute to and benefit from the monitoring efforts that are carried out in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, such that the students themselves can learn biodiversity assessment and monitoring while contributing to the long-term data that are important for understanding the dynamics and stability of fragmented forests in this region.