Yayasan Sime Darby commits an additional RM1.9 million towards research on elephant ecology and conservation. In an effort to save the gentle giants of Malaysia, Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) is extending support for the Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) project with a RM1.9 million commitment for another three years from Jan 2017 until Dec 2019.
This year marks YSD’s sixth year of support for the MEME project to preserve Asian elephants in Malaysia. YSD first sponsored the MEME project in January 2012, committing RM3.36 million until December 2016.
The project is helmed by University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC) School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences Associate Professor Dr Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz with cooperation from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN).
YSD Governing Council Member Caroline Christine Russell said that as of September 2016, the MEME project has recorded significant findings that illuminate the behaviour and ecology of the Asian elephant in forested areas of Malaysia, as well as their interactions with people.
“The findings of the MEME project include the revelation that elephants have lost nearly 70% of their roaming territory in human-dominated landscapes in Malaysia over the past 35 years; an alarming rate.
“Unfortunately, we still do not know well their distribution in non-human dominated landscapes, such as forest reserves and protected areas.
“We need urgent solutions and initiatives to stop the decrease of wildlife populations in Malaysia, including elephants, before it is too late. We also need better baseline data to monitor the status of their population in the long term,” she said.
Dr Campos-Arceiz said the extended sponsorship will assist MEME to fund their research team, field equipment as well as field operations.
“Since 2011, MEME is generating a large amount of novel information on the ecology and conservation of elephants in Peninsular Malaysia, including information on the distribution of elephants in human-dominated landscapes, elephant diet and movements in fragmented landscapes, their ecological importance for the maintenance of forest ecosystems, and the effectiveness of different strategies for the mitigation of human-elephant conflicts.
“This extended sponsorship is very important for MEME because it will allow us to complete our ongoing research as well as use this newly generated information to advise policy-makers and create public awareness for the conservation of these magnificent animals in Malaysia,” he said.
Professor Claire O’Malley, UNMC’s Vice-Provost for Research, said “The University of Nottingham is proud of MEME, one of our most visible and potentially impactful research projects.”
One of MEME’s objectives is capacity building and training the next generation of elephant researchers and conservationists in Malaysia, which has been made possible through YSD’s funding.
In this regard, UNMC student Dr Ee Phin Wong recently obtained her PhD for the non-invasive study of stress in wild elephant. Dr Wong is now Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
Two other students – Hii Ning and Ange Tan – have received their Masters in Research for the study of elephant social behaviour and distribution, respectively. By the end of 2019, it is expected that MEME will have trained five PhD and three Master by Research Malaysian students.
The team has also played an important role in the drafting of the National Conservation and Action Plan (NECAP), which was launched in 2013, and is one of the key members of MyGajah, the steering committee that oversees NECAP’s implementation.
Under its Environment pillar, to date, YSD has committed RM130 million towards the protection of high conservation value ecosystems, vulnerable and endangered species as well as initiatives promoting the preservation of the environment and biodiversity.
Yayasan Sime Darby
Yayasan Sime Darby, or Sime Darby Foundation, was established in 1982 and is the primary driver of Sime Darby Berhad’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
The objectives of Yayasan Sime Darby are supported by its five pillars, namely: community and health; education; youth and sports; arts and culture; environment. While led by independent members of a Governing Council and managed by a dedicated team, Yayasan Sime Darby works closely with the Sime Darby Group, in areas of mutual interest.
Since its inception, Yayasan Sime Darby has awarded scholarships worth more than RM240 million to 3,208 students both in and outside Malaysia. It is supporting long term research projects of significant scientific value like the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project which is the world’s largest ecological project, a joint effort with the Royal Society (The UK and Commonwealth Academy of Science). Yayasan Sime Darby is also actively involved in the development and improvements of sports in Malaysia namely track cycling, cricket, sailing and golf. Under its community & health pillar, Yayasan Sime Darby supports initiatives to promote the well-being of disadvantaged people irrespective of race, culture, religion, creed or gender and works with established organisations to promote the development of arts & culture.
For more information on YSD.
For more information on MEME.
(Article image caption: YSD Governing Council Member Ms Caroline Russell (at the centre) with YSD Chief Executive Officer Puan Hajah Yatela Zainal Abidin (on her right), UNMC's Vice-Provost (Research & Knowledge Exchange) Professor Claire O'Malley (on her left) and Dr Ahimsa (5th from the left) with the rest of the MEME team.
(Thumbnail image caption: (from left to right): Puan Hajah Yatela, Ms Caroline Russell, Professor Claire O'Malley, Dr Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz and Perhilitan Enforcement Division Director Hasnan Yusop).
More information is available from Dr Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz on firstname.lastname@example.org or Josephine Dionisappu, PR & Communications Manager on +6 (03) 8924 8746, email@example.com or Meena Lakshana Mahadevan Ramadas, Senior Executive, Public Relations at Yayasan Sime Darby on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2015. More than 97% of research at The University of Nottingham is recognised internationally and it is 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future.
Posted on 7th February 2017