WWF-Malaysia prepares rangers for effective protection of Yayasan Sabah’s Conservation areas
KOTA KINABALU: With the increasing demand on land for human use, wildlife gets more and more confined to often small and isolated protected areas. The protection of wildlife and their habitat in these protected areas, such as parks and wildlife sanctuaries, is therefore largely dependent on their effective management.
Recognising the importance of enhancing the management of protected areas, the Conservation and Environmental Management Division of Yayasan Sabah signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WWF-Malaysia to design and facilitate a series of trainings for rangers of Yayasan Sabah conservation areas.
This 14-month training programme aims to increase the skills and knowledge of the rangers and instil higher self-esteem and sense of pride in the ranger profession. Designed according to ‘Competence Standards for Protected Area Jobs in South East Asia’ which is endorsed by the ASEAN Regional Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, it covers a myriad of operations such as wildlife monitoring, patrolling and enforcement, recreation and tourism, and jungle survival skills.
WWF-Malaysia kicked off the first of its 14-session training from 9 to 13 March in Maliau Basin Studies Centre with the Basic Jungle Survival Course. With technical assistance from Outward Bound School and Borneo Amateur Radio Club, some of the topics covered included Safety and Risks Analysis Management, Radio Communications, Emergency Response Procedures, and Expedition Management.
The second training session, held from 16 to 20 April at the same venue, focused on patrolling and enforcement in protected areas. It was facilitated by WWF-Malaysia with technical support from Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Wildlife Department. The participants were trained in using Global Positioning System and Geographic Information System to collect and display data from the field, and also patrolling and investigation techniques. Amongst the highlights of the training was the role-playing by the participants for scenarios involving poachers, as this session mimicked real encounters with wildlife criminals in protected areas.
Dr Waidi Sinun, the Group Manager of Yayasan Sabah’s Conservation and Environmental Management Division said, “The Ranger Training Programme has been designed well by WWF-Malaysia and is greatly relevant to Yayasan Sabah’s management of conservation areas. I look forward to seeing the skills and knowledge gained from these courses to be put to good use by our rangers”.
According to Bernard Tai, Sabah’s Head of Conservation for WWF-Malaysia, “WWF-Malaysia is committed to continuously support Yayasan Sabah by providing capacity building for staff and in the long run, achieve environmental sustainability.” He added, “Protected areas are crucial for the conservation of natural habitats, species and genetic diversity. It takes time to achieve quality; therefore, I hope these rangers will remain enthusiastic for the remaining months to gain the most out of the training”.
The next course in the Ranger Training Programme, which is scheduled for June 2015, will train the rangers in wildlife monitoring, with technical support from Sabah Parks.