The Borneon Banteng is also known as tembadau. Pix courtesy of Danau Girang Field Centre

KOTA KINABALU: A workshop starting tomorrow will kickstart efforts to draft a Bornean Banteng Action Plan for Sabah to be submitted to the state government.

International and local scientists, governmental agencies and industry players are convening to save another iconic species endemic to the State. The banteng is also known as tembadau.

In a joint statement here, the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) that are organising the two-day workshop said recommendations will be given on protecting the Bornean banteng based on findings of a five-year state-wide survey conducted by them.

"Then Action Plan will be drafted based on the proposed recommendations from the workshop.

"It will be validated by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group before being submitted to the State Government for approval," said DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens.

The species is threatened by heavy poaching, habitat loss and forest fragmentation in Sabah where only last month, three banteng were poached by hunters in three protected areas in Sabah in the space of three days.

"At this rate, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran rhinoceros," he stressed.

According to a survey using camera traps in several protected and unprotected areas statewide, it is estimated there are four or five isolated populations of banteng.

"One is on the west coast, one or two in central Sabah, one in the south-east and one in the north-east of Sabah.

"The total population is estimated to be around 400 to 500 individuals, making the Bornean banteng the most endangered large mammal in Sabah,” added Goossens.

Earlier this year, stakeholders have also convened two separate events to come up with plans for the conservation of the proboscis monkey and Sunda clouded leopard, respectively.

He added that DGFC has also been supported by

Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) since April 2011 with a commitment of RM3.96 million over a period of six years, to conduct research on the three species.

The action plans for the three species are expected to be ready by early 2018.

YSD chairman Tun Musa Hitam has stated that the Foundation will be waiting in anticipation for the submission of the three action plans to the Sabah state government.

The Foundation has also sponsored one Malaysian student, Lim Hong Ye who pursued his Master’s degree at Universiti Malaysia Sabah and graduated this year.

He will present his work on banteng at the workshop tomorrow.