Panda News 2021:
July to September
Why empowering young people will build a better world.
80% of youth left the virtual VIBES+ by BB4SCP conference feeling empowered to tackle the food system issues in our country. They participated in the upskilling programmes - design thinking, social innovations, digital storytelling, and self-paced activities - treasure hunt, storytelling challenge, and food drive. Finally, they shared their aspirations in the roundtable discussion. Click here to read their resolutions.
"I've learned a lot and am currently working on a proposal to establish a permaculture plot on our campus. This will be one way to engage other students to understand the issue." – Muhammad Daniel Chew
"I'll be entering the working world soon. I hope to create a sustainable lifestyle movement in the workspaces." – Mohammad Bazil
In observing the #WorldRiversDay last September, we paid tribute to the Eco Champions 2021 for their commendable efforts in developing innovative approaches, tools, building outreach and engagement with the public through their projects that started in April 2021. We hope their stories inspire other youths to act and drive positive change for a sustainable future. Read their achievements here.
Hundreds of students from Chinese schools across Batu Pahat, Johor participated in ESD's 21-day #BreakingHabitsWithESD challenge. The activity aims to introduce simple and doable environmental actions that can be done daily to save our planet. The initiative was led by the youth members of the Kim Tong Har Association. They have also fundraised RM350 to support our education work. Explore their stories here.
Our programme truly believes that providing a safe space for young people to learn and voice their opinion is crucial. When we equip them with the right tools, information, and skills, they can play a critical role in monitoring decisions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals led by government officials and policymakers.
Waste not, want not: Promoting sustainable management of waste and water resources - by PMTC Fresh Water
The PMTC Programme’s Freshwater team held its first-ever Stay@Home Recycling Challenge (S@HRC) on 19-24 August 2021, in collaboration with Alam Flora Sdn. Bhd. and supported by other partners namely SWCorp, Kloth Malaysia, Impactlution, Soap Opera Kuala Lumpur and our corporate funder, H&M.
The 5-day virtual challenge aimed to promote sustainable water resource management through waste footprint reduction. Various interesting activities revolving around recycling and proper waste management were conducted, namely a panel discussion, soap-making workshop, webinar and recycling contest.
Collectively, the number of outreach was outstanding with more than 2,000 participants engaged from all over Malaysia throughout the five-day campaign. Feedback from participants indicated they have benefited from the useful knowledge imparted during the S@HRC and in fact, some have requested for a similar activity to be conducted more frequently. Check out the interesting information and practical tips or re-watch the recorded live sessions here.
Snippets of the creative initiatives taken by participants Chin Yoke Ling, Nurul Amira Aizati Mohd Zaidi and Muhammad Zulraidi Mohd Din during the recycling contest.
An audience with Pahang Regent regarding Fraser’s Hill conservation - by PMTC Protected Areas
The Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Ibni Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had granted an audience with WWF-Malaysia on 9 August 2021.
Represented by CEO Sophia Lim, Conservation director Dr. Henry Chan, Protected Areas Lead Siti Zuraidah Abidin and Fraser’s Hill Protected Areas Manager Carell Cheong, the team briefed His Royal Highness Tuanku on various conservation initiatives that are underway at the Fraser’s Hill Forest Complex, as well as the Malayan tiger conservation project.
The presentation also highlighted the area's ecosystem services, biodiversity wealth, as well as current threats. Additionally, we also had the opportunity to talk about the proposed establishment of the Royal Fraser’s Hill State Park.
Fruitful Dolphin Surveys
The Marine and Sarawak programmes had fruitful dolphin boat surveys in Rajang-Belawai-Paloh delta and coastal area between 30 August and 4 September. Three IUCN endangered species, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis), Indo-Pacific finless porpoise (Neophacaena phocaenoides) and Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) were sighted. The surveys were done together with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
Amid the travel restrictions, team members from both programmes are still looking for opportunities to have face to face communication which is the preferred consultation medium among local communities. Earlier this year, a virtual community consultation was already held with village heads, partner agencies and consultants which saw all parties expressing support for the dolphin-mangrove conservation work in the area. So, keeping our fingers crossed, the team can travel and meet communities in November.
First virtual community consultation with village heads, partner agencies and consultants in January 2021.
© Gavin Jolis / WWF-Malaysia
GTD2021 Short Success Story
From July to August 2021, WWF-Malaysia in partnership with Maybank launched the #ScoreForTigers campaign, which leveraged Malaysians’ love of football – Our national team is named Harimau Malaya (Malayan Tigers) – to build awareness and support for Malayan tiger conservation. We invited everyone to submit juggling videos to the #ScoreForTigers TikTok Juggling Challenge page and share the tiger conservation message. Details:
· Our #ScoreForTigers tiger conservation messages had a total digital reach of 14.7 million, with 12.7 million views of campaign videos and the TikTok challenge page.
· More than 1,500 people submitted videos with the #ScoreForTigers hashtag, while the TikTok challenge page garnered 9.6 million views, more than half a million likes and 30,000 shares
· Media coverage on Malayan tigers during the campaign period had a PR Value of about RM6.8 million and an online reach of 77.8 million
· A tiger anthem was developed and performed by Malaysian stars Bunga and Kucaimars
DDF Success Short Story
To build awareness and support for orang-utan conservation, WWF-Malaysia collaborated with Digital Durian, the company behind popular Malaysian preschool animation and songs, Didi & Friends. Their YouTube (YT) channel has more than 5.6 million subscribers as of 1 October 2021.
Digital Durian developed a song and music video in two languages – Bahasa Malaysia and English -- about deforestation featuring their orang-utan character Pak Atan entitled 'What Would You Do' / 'Buatlah Sesuatu' in conjunction with International Orang-utan Day on 19 August 2021.
The ‘Buatlah Sesuatu’ music video which has prominent mentions of WWF-Malaysia, has more than 1.2 million views as of 1 October 2021, bringing the orang-utan conservation message to a new audience of families with young children. In conjunction with the song launch, we also created a microsite to supplement efforts to build awareness about the importance of orang-utan conservation.
Great hospitality includes seafood sustainability
Over the past 2 years, the team has strengthened their transformational engagement with businesses by securing three individual hotel partnerships in Klang Valley. Besides commitments to improve their food waste management, the hotels are working closely with us to assess and improve their seafood sourcing towards being more responsible.
A preliminary assessment to identify the sustainability status of Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur’s seafood has been completed, which provides a baseline and direction for future improvements. The process of the assessment has helped the hotel to achieve a better understanding of where their seafood comes from and whether it was farmed or wild caught responsibly. We were also excited to see that Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur has sourced more than 6,000 kilogrammes of responsibly farmed seafood from our local Aquaculture Improvement Projects over the course of just five months.
Staff of Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur on a farm visit in Pulau Ketam to learn about aquaculture.
© Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
Protecting Malaysia’s marine flagship species
The programme focuses on marine turtles, dolphins and sharks as Malaysian marine flagship species. These targets are impacted by anthropogenic threats such as incidental catch, marine turtle and egg poaching, habitat degradation, and impacts of climate change. The marine programme focuses on reducing threats to marine turtles, dolphins and sharks by implementing two strategies which are incidental catch mitigation measures for marine turtles, dolphins and sharks, and reducing poaching of marine turtles and its eggs. If bycatch mitigation measures are implemented, plus legislation, hatchery management, enforcement on marine turtles are improved - this will be able to reduce mortality rates of these flagship species from bycatch, as well as nest poaching and poaching cases of turtles, and impacts of climate change.
WWF-Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in their first dolphin boat survey in Rajang-Belawai-Paloh, Sarawak.
© Gavin Jolis / WWF-Malaysia
Interviews with fishers of Kg.Indarason Laut, Tun Mustapha Park to collect information on shark sightings.
© Marine Programme / WWF-Malaysia
#OTW to IUCN Green List
After over a decade of planning by the government, civil society, WWF-Malaysia, and other organisations through various fora and instruments, Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) was gazetted as a Marine Protected Area (MPA), and is now currently pursuing to be listed in the IUCN Green List. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas is the first global standard of best practice for area-based conservation.
In line with its Integrated Management Plan 2017-2026, TMP is pursuing its organisational and implementation process with the objectives of improving biodiversity, sustainable fisheries and alleviating poverty. By achieving this status, TMP will be globally recognized as a fairly governed and effectively managed MPA. WWF-Malaysia as an implementing partner and mentor is currently working closely with Sabah Parks towards getting TMP achieving its IUCN Green List Status.
Balambangan Island, Tun Mustapha Park © Mazidi Ghani / WWF-Malaysia
Romping into the Heart of Borneo (Part 1) By Jason Hon, Sarawak Conservation Programme
Field work had been delayed for almost one year, due to COVID-19 pandemic and movement control orders. The Wildlife Conservation team of Sarawak Conservation Programme were eager to go down to the ground again, but COVID-19 numbers did not give us any clear indication if the situation would improve or worsen. The memory cards from the camera traps, which contained precious wildlife data, have to be retrieved! That was the mission.
There was a small window of opportunity, finally in September, that the trip could happen. The team scrambled through last minute preparations (nothing can be pre-planned too soon during COVID-19 season). Flight tickets confirmed (lucky if you get a seat and the flight is not cancelled!), police permits to travel done, mandatory swab test completed (three days prior to travel and you better be free of the virus, else all travel plans will go down the drain), all necessary paperwork filled (pray it is not the weekend or holiday when the officer-in-charge could be off-work), and the consents of the headman and District Officers obtained (hope they are reachable and give you a ‘ok’). And yes, most important of all, the travel party must be fully vaccinated.
Travel day arrived. Excitement was high. Just the day before, AirAsia notified that the flight from Kuching to Sibu would be delayed by six hours. Ah, that’s ok, the team could still fly out on the same day, and arrived in Sibu in time to do the necessary stocking up of field consumables. Next day, it was a three-hour journey to Kapit on a chartered van, followed by a hectic day of stocking up more rations for the next eight days of field work. All settled, the team had a good rest in anticipation of the next day’s tiring eight-hour 4WD journey to the deepest part of Sarawak.
Day three was fully set aside just for traveling (yes, we have not reached the destination point yet). The journey on a double cab 4WD traversed some of the most mountainous regions of Sarawak and along the mighty Baleh River. Occasionally, trucks laden with timber drove past, the experiences were more numerous as compared to the wildlife we saw. This is the heartland of the logging industry in Sarawak. Halfway through the journey, a pair of rhinoceros hornbills flew overhead, perched on a tall tree, and started calling. That was a pleasant welcome greeting to the team! Further in, we saw some long-tailed macaques by the road side, and that was about it, our encounters with wildlife. Occasionally, we made brief stops at places overlooking rolling hills with lush greenery, worthy to be made into a wallpaper!
The last one hour of the journey was already in total darkness. The highly experienced drivers relied on their car lights, but we were pretty confident that almost the entire journey was guided by their internal human brain ‘Waze’ or ‘Google map’ which know the slippery patches and muddy potholes. Last time check: 1930 hours – the team finally arrived at a Kenyah settlement called Long Singut B. It was a huge relief for the team! Swiftly the team swung into action to unload all the stuff, unpack and prepare for dinner. They needed a good night's rest because the real adventure had yet to come…
Top row: The hilly landscapes of Kapit, the heartland of the logging industry in Sarawak;
Middle row: Eight-hour journey on logging road from Kapit to Long Singut B (left) and tagged and royalty marked logs stacked up by the roadside before they are transported to the logpond or mill (right);
Bottom row: There are many river crossings and strong steel bridges are built to withstand the heavy load of timber trucks (left) and the splinter village, conveniently called Long Singut B that was built over a disused logpond. The original village is another two-hour journey by boat upstream. The logging road ends here. Photos by © Jason Hon / WWF-Malaysia