It is not very often that Malaysians get rewarded for something they do for the environment.
But trust us; there are plenty of Malaysians out there who are doing a magnificent job when it comes to conservation of the environment.
A champion for our hornbills
A Malaysian wildlife researcher has made the country proud after winning the Terrestrial Conservation Leadership Award from the Marsh Christian Trust for her significant contribution to sustainable biodiversity.
According to a report by Malay Mail
, the award, which is given in collaboration with Fauna and Flora International, recognises people who have been playing an important role in their communities, highlighting local leaders or organisations making a particularly special contribution to conservation.
Ravinder Kaur, who has been a researcher in the field of protecting hornbills in the country since 2006, told the news portal that the award means so much to her and her team.
“The Marsh award was granted to me last month and I am hopeful that it will give my team members and I the exposure that will connect us to future long term funders such as the corporate sectors.
“I believe the pandemic is a wake-up call where we need to do more for nature and wildlife as human beings would be affected by continuous forest destruction and species extinction,” she was quoted as saying.
She shared that her interest in hornbills came about when she accompanied Taiping-based researcher Lim Kim Chye during his field visits to Temenggor in Perak for a hornbill project.
She was also taken in by the birds when she spent six months observing the critically-endangered Helmeted hornbill nests for a study.
That even led her to pursue her masters degree in the field of birds in Universiti Malaysia Sabah after which she received a job offer.
“I was offered an opportunity to work with hornbills in Kinabatangan, with a non-governmental organisation called HUTAN/KOCP to install five artificial nest boxes for hornbills.
“While HUTAN is a French non-governmental organisation based in Kinabatangan, KOCP meanwhile is the orang utan conservation project in Kinabatangan.”
Together with her teammates Helson Hassan and Amidi Majinun, they collected seeds regurgitated by hornbills under nest trees to be grown at the HUTAN/KOCP nursery.
“In 2013, HUTAN and its partners such as Chester Zoo, Beauval Zoo, Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Forestry Department decided to install nest boxes to provide vital nesting sites for Kinabatangan hornbills.
“Four years later, we recorded the first-ever successful fledging of a wild rhinoceros hornbill chick from an artificial nest box and in 2019, five rhinoceros hornbills chicks were produced from two boxes which were known as 'Phase 1 boxes'."
For their efforts, they won the CLP Future Conservationist Award in 2017 to further improve breeding opportunities for Kinabatangan hornbills.
Here’s hoping the team more success!