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Endangered species project receives vital funding

29 January 2013

The University's Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo has received over £300,000 of funding from the Sime Darby Foundation. The centre functions to study and protect endangered species in Malaysia and works closely with the Sabah Wildlife Department.

The funding will contribute to the conservation of Sunda clouded leopards and sympatric carnivores. Other collaborative partners to the project include the WildCRU (Oxford University), the University of British Columbia (Canada) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

The Sime Darby Foundation's contribution is in line with the foundation's Big9 programme which aim is to protect and conserve nine endangered animals, most of which are indigenous to Malaysia. They are the sun bear, orangutan, Asian elephant, Sunda clouded leopard, hornbills, banteng, proboscis monkey, Sumatran rhinoceros and Malayan tiger.

In October 2012, a grant worth £210,000 was awarded by the Sime Darby Foundation to the Sabah Wildlife Deaprtment and the Danau Girang Field Centre for the conservation and management of bantengs in Sabah. The money went towards increasing the knowledge and awareness of the banteng – an extremely endangered species of wild cattle, unique to Southeast Asia.

Last year the project received a total of over £310,000 of grant funding from the foundation's Big9 programme. This was allocated to the research and conservation of the proboscis monkey, and to supporting two PhD students based in Cardiff University – both of whom are working on the project.

Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of Danau Girang Field Centre and Senior Research Associate at Cardiff School of Biosciences, said:

"Our research activities will increase our knowledge on the effects of forest fragmentation, habitat degradation and poaching on the survival of these species, and will highlight the importance of wildlife corridors in fragmented landscape. All that knowledge is important for management plans to ensure the long-term survival of the wildlife that thrive in this human altered landscape. The knowledge gathered and management implications generated from these projects will also raise the awareness among the public on wildlife protection and conservation."