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Borneo Keeper of the Wild trains forestry rangers in wildlife conservation

21 January, 2014 - 16:57 -- World Land Trust
Berjaya in a classroom in front of a screen on to which information is projected.
A group of rangers in the forest.

Berjaya Elahan is an experienced wildlife warden working for Hutan, World Land Trust’s conservation partner in Malaysian Borneo. In his latest report, Berjaya describes the importance of sharing knowledge.

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When I was in my early 20s, I began my career in conservation as a trainee in Hutan’s Orang-utan Research Unit (OURs). The work was at first very hard as we had to follow Orang-utans from dawn to dusk. Occasionally we had to camp overnight in the forest, if the Orang-utan we were following nested too far from the pick-up point for the boat that would take us home.

That was my introduction to wildlife conservation in 1999. Back then, I learned on my feet how scientific data is recorded and how to analyse results. It took years of constant learning to fully master the job.

Later I became part of the inaugural, full time team of rangers for Hutan. After that I was trained and certified by the Sabah Wildlife Department as an Honorary Wildlife Warden, and now I am part of Hutan’s Wildlife Warden & Conflict Mitigation unit. Besides carrying out monitoring and managing wildlife conflict and encroachment, we continue to assist in research and development within Hutan and with other agencies.

Conservation training

Recently I joined other colleagues from Hutan to deliver two training sessions for rangers of the Sabah Forestry Department (SFD). One session was held at their headquarters and the second at their field station in the Keningau District.

As a Government agency, SFD manages the largest areas of forested lands in the state of Sabah, but they have been trained to manage the forest and they lack experience of wildlife conservation.

“Now I help other rangers build their understanding and capacity so they can better manage and protect wildlife within their own areas.”
(Berjaya Elahan, Hutan Keeper of the Wild)

Dr Marc Ancrenaz, Co-Director of Hutan, published a manual for SFD on how to conduct wildlife management and monitoring. Using this as a guide, we delivered training in both theory and practice. The theoretical learning took place in the classroom. The practical learning happened out in the field where we applied the lessons of the classroom to the forest.

I feel proud that I can share my knowledge and passion for conservation with other rangers while they learn how to manage and monitor wildlife within their forest areas and the surrounding landscape.

These sessions are part of a longer term programme with more training planned in the future. We know from our own experience that one-off sessions for a couple of days are never enough and we have to deliver multiple courses to ensure the training is a success.

It reminds me of the days when I was first training with Hutan’s Orang-utan team, how the researchers would spend time reviewing the same techniques over and over again, just to make sure we understood them. And now I am able to help other rangers build their understanding and capacity so they can better manage and protect wildlife within their own areas.

More information

We are grateful to Isabelle Lackman, Co-Director of Hutan, for providing this translation of Berjaya's report.

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Berjaya’s post is part-funded by WLT’s Keepers of the Wild programme. Read more of his reports and news »

It costs on average £5,000 to pay for one ranger for a year. Please help Berjaya and others like him carry out their important work monitoring and protecting wildlife by making a donation to Keepers of the Wild.

Donate to Keepers of the Wild »

In 2014 WLT's Borneo Rainforest Appeal is raising funds to purchase land in Sabah to protect a wildlife corridor between two reserves on the north bank of the Kinabatangan River. The appeal total currently stands at more than £800,000. Please help us reach the appeal target of £1million by supporting the appeal.

Donate to Borneo Rainforest Appeal »

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