1 Building Bridges Integrating community development and conservation of forests and biodiversity in the Kinabatangan River area, Sabah, Malaysia Progress Report 5, July – December 2012 HUTAN/KOCP IN PARTNERSHIP WITH People Nature Consulting International and Shining Hope Foundation
2 Summary The Shining Hope Foundation is providing financial support to HUTAN and its implementing partners to demonstrate that integrated management of environmental and socio‐economic aspects of land and natural resource management are needed to achieve long‐lasting outcomes for sustainable biodiversity and environmental conservation as well as human development in tropical developing countries. Specifically, the project seeks to achieve a measureable improvement in the ecological conditions of Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and selected key stone species, and demonstrable improved welfare and well‐being of selected target groups in the Kinabatangan community, through effective integration of community development with conservation of forests and biodiversity in the Kinabatangan River area. A review of project activities, outcomes, and financial expenditures was conducted by Erik Meijaard on 25 and 26 February 2013 for the period July to December 2012. No field visit was included this time, and the reporting was done based on field reports submitted by individual units of HUTAN (OURS, HEAP, Wildlife Wardens etc). The financial review was conducted in Kota Kinabalu on February 26th together with the HUTAN accountant and involved checking of receipts, compiling expenditures over the period and comparing these with predicted expenses. Information about project activities was obtained through interviews with several field staff. As noted in previous reports, some cost centres remain significantly overspent and others underspent. The recommended rebalancing of the budget through new spending rates on each cost centre was not implemented by Hutan’s account, requiring a further update of budget for the remaining months of the project duration (January to August 2013). Other budget issues that require attention are mentioned below.
3 Financial Progress Report July to December 2012 The euro‐based spending rate for the Shining Hope Foundation funds between September 2010 and December 2012 was 106.41%. Over the entire period since the start of the project, from a budgeted amount of € 127,267.39, € 135,424.02 was spent, resulting in an absolute overspending of € 8,156.63 (see Table 1 below). Based on these spending rates a budget revision is proposed for the final 9 months of the project to ensure that the final spending is in line with what was initially budgeted. Comments on budget Overspending is primarily caused by strengthening of the Malay Ringgit and price inflation. Regarding the exchange rate, the Malaysian Ringgit has significantly increased in value compared to the Euro from 4.5 at the start of the project to 3.85 now. This means that the project has about 10% less to spend than was forecasted. No inflation correction was applied when the budget was developed. Average annual consumer price inflation in Malaysia was about 1.8% in 2012. Appropriate budget readjustments have been made to compensate for these increased costs. Overspending was financed from other donor sources and project core finances. Budget Expenses Spending Expenses Budget period Sept 10‐June 12 (€) Sept 10‐June 12 (€) Rate (over)/underspent (€) Salary Ahbam Abulani 14,399.76 21,867.67 151.86% 7,467.90 Salary Hamisah Elahan 14,399.76 10,503.03 72.94% ‐3,896.73 Salary Azri Sawang 14,399.76 20,548.88 142.70% 6,149.12 Fuel for boat 11,200.00 11,055.56 98.71% ‐144.44 Petrol for car 5,600.00 5,936.57 106.01% 336.57 Photo camera/video for observation and identification 4,000.00 1,227.91 30.70% ‐2,772.09 Total Office costs and consumable 1,268.10 1,746.44 137.72% 478.34 Materials for HEAP activities in schools 2,000.00 604.49 30.22% ‐1,395.51 Training for HEAP staff 750.00 107.29 14.31% ‐642.71 Total Home Tree Nursery and Reforestation activities 28,000.00 32,379.82 115.64% 4,379.82 Total Warden activities/Hornbill Survey 2,000.00 1,145.87 57.29% ‐854.13 Total Equipment and uniform for HEAP/OURS/WARDEN 4,500.00 3,328.85 73.97% ‐1,171.15 Total Equipment/Education Camp/Activities 3,000.00 369.04 12.30% ‐2,630.96 Total Boat expenses 3,750.00 963.86 25.70% ‐2,786.14 Total upgrading environmental awareness and training centre 3,000.00 2,006.77 66.89% ‐993.23 Total Orang utan bridges 3,000.00 2,470.78 82.36% ‐529.22 Helicopter monitoring 6,000.00 3,688.89 61.48% ‐2,311.11 Total Swift nest population and harvesting survey 6,000.00 15,472.30 257.87% 9,472.30 Total Budget and Expenditures 127,267.39 135,424.02 106.41% 8,156.63 Table 1. Total budget and expenditures from September 2010 to March 2011.
4 Based on the remaining funds for the period January to August 2013, a revised budget allocation is proposed below. Proposal monthly budget Jan – Aug 2013 (MYR) Salary Ahbam Abulani 3,200 Salary Hamisah Elahan 1,400 Salary Azri Sawang 3,080 Fuel for boat use 1,540 Petrol for car use 1,540 Photo camera and video for observation and identification 0 Office costs & Consumables 0 Materials for HEAP activities in schools 0 Training for HEAP staff 0 Home Tree nurseries and reforestation activities 2,120 Survey Hornbill (2010) 0 Equipment and uniform for HEAP, KOCP, Warden 693 Equipment Education Camp 0 Boat 0 Finishing upgrading environmental awareness and training center 0 Orang utan bridges 0 Helicopter monitoring 2/year 0 Swift nest population and harvesting survey 1,540 Table 2. Revised monthly budget allocation from January to August 2013 in Malaysian Ringgit that will ensure that the total project spending is no more than the total budgeted funds from Shining Hope. Budget forecast and fund disbursement Based on present spending rates, it is suggested that the funding for the next phase (January to June 2013) is transferred, with a total of € 25,772.50 (see Table 3). Table 3. Budget forecasts and actual expenditures Budget period Actual expenditure (RM) Actual expenditure (Euro) Forecasted budget requirements September to December 2010 MYR 93,123.95 ca. € 22,439 € 27,566.80 January to June 2011 MYR 130,981.13 ca. € 30,819 € 28,850.20 July to December 2011 MYR 132,095.54 ca. € 31,081 € 24,483.00 January to June 2012 MYR 104,153.62 ca. € 26,706 € 25,800.00 July to December 2012 MYR 102,286.30 ca. € 26,568 € 25,781.67 January to June 2013 € 25,772.50 July and August 2013 € 8,590.83 TOTAL € 166,845.00
5 Narrative Progress Report July – December 2012 Project Outcome 1. Statistically robust data are available on the trends in distribution, population densities and conservation status of the orang‐utan, hornbill species, and cave‐nesting swifts in Kinabatangan. Activity 1. Populations of orangutans, hornbills, and edible nest swiftlets are regularly monitored by KOCPs Orangutan Research unit (OURS) Orangutan surveys Figure 1. One of the orangutans encountered during surveys in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve, Sabah Hutan’s intensive OrangUtan Research Site was established in 1998 in 6.2 km2 of secondary forests in Lot 2 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Reserve near the village of Sukau. A team of ten intensively trained local research officers ‐ Hutan’s Orang‐Utan Research Unit ‐ take turns to track orangutans in the forest and conduct eco‐ethological observations. A wide range of data are collected on standardized datasheet including dietary observations, feeding behaviour, social aspects and ranging patterns During 2012, Hutan achieved a total of 66 full days (821 hours) of direct observations of 28 wild individual orangutans. Among the orangutans observed were 9 flanged males, 2 unflanged males, 14 adult females, 2 adolescents and 1 juvenile. This represent a drastic increase compared to the 7 individual orang‐utans observed in 2011. A new map of the KOCP study area was completed in 2012. The map of the study site was updated and now incorporates all the new line‐transects, botanical plots, major fig trees (and important fallback food for orangutans) and habitat types encountered in the study area. This map is used extensively to map all the movements of the target individuals who are followed daily by the teams of field research assistants (see for example Figure 2).
6 Figure 2. Movements and activities of Jenny during 28 days of observation in 2012 These detailed studies allow Hutan to understand how different related orangutans establish their home ranges in the fragmented forests of the lower Kinabatangan, or sometimes moev away in search of their own habitat. Some animals have been followed for nearly 15 years now. Jenny, for example, was the first wild orangutan habituated by KOCP in 1999. She has been followed regularly for the past 15 years (Figures 2 and 3). The orangutan research team has watched her son Etin, grow up and leave his mother and now observes Jenny raising her daughter Malatus. Malatus is unusual as she was born while her mother was under observation just over 7 years ago. October 3rd 2012 was a proud but also bittersweet day for the research team, because, for the first time, Malatus spent the night in her own nest away from her mother. This is Figure 3. Photo left. Jenny, recognizable by the mole located on her rightupper lip. Photo right. Malatus, when she was 7 years old (October 2012).
7 a milestone in orangutan development indicating the offspring is now full weaned. On the morning of October 4th Jenny came to meet Malatus, so it is likely she knew generally where Malatus was on her first night alone. The following night (October 4th) Jenny made her nest and settled in. Malatus was still feeding and then she too started to build her own nest about 10 m away in the next tree. The team then witnessed Jenny peek up over the edge of her nest to take a quick look at her daughter’s nest building skills while Malatus wasn’t watching. Although Malatus now ranges out of sight of her mother at times she mostly still sleeps nearby. While males are expected to gradually leave their natal (birth) area, female orangutans tend to settle in adjoining home ranges. During the last quarter of 2012, Hutan’s team saw an influx of adult flanged males within their study site with the encounter of at least five to seven “new” individuals. Only genetic testing will reveal if these flanged males are new to the study area, if they are irregular residents or transients, or if they are large morphs of previously unflanged males (see below). A total of 54 orang‐utan fecal samples and two hair samples were collected in 2012 within our study site. These samples are going to be analysed for genetic at Zurich University (Switzerland) for paternity test and individual identification. This new batch of samples (added to the 62 saples sent to Zurich last year and that haven’t been processed yet) will provide crucial information about home range, social structure, survival rates, family trees and etc. This will allow understanding better the socio‐ecology of the species in Kinabatangan. Knowing the identities of individual animals, such as those in Figure 4, is tremendously important for developing conservation strategies that maximize the likelihood of survival of larger populations in the Kinabatangan area. Hornbill surveys In March 2012, Hutan started to conduct monthly surveys of the 8 hornbill species present in the Lower Kinabatangan, including population structure (sex, age‐class) and nesting site locations. These surveys are part of Hutan’s Kinabatangan hornbill conservation initiative started in 2009 in collaboration with the Thailand Hornbill Project (THP). At the moment these are not funded by the Shining Hope Foundation, but the present work builds on the initial surveys that were done in 2010 and 2011 with support from the Shining Hope Foundation. A very worrying development for hornbill conservation is the rapid increase in hornbill ivory, especially from the two biggest species, Helmeted Hornbill and Rhinoceros Hornbill. Chinese demand for such ivory has recently increased leading to a rapid expansion of illegal trade in hornbills, as indicated by the recent confiscation of 248 hornbill casques at Jakarta airport. This is likely to be only the top of the iceberg and hornbill populations across Borneo are expected to decline rapidly making Hutan’s work even more important. Figure 4. Photo left : May, young adolescent female is now independent: she has split from her Mum Maggieand younger sister Felicity. Photo right : Luak, a “resident” flanged male to our site
8 Nest swiftlet caves In 2012, Hutan decided to guard only the four bigger caves in Pangi FR containing the largest breeding swiftlet populations (33 caves in total, 13 only containing breeding swiftlet pairs, Figure 5). New guard posts were built. Hutan hired 10 members of the Sukau community to guard the cave entrances from nest thieves and other intruders. Throughout the year, the 10 Pangi staff spent their entire time in the forest, taking turns day and night to patrol the Forest Reserve. No nest was harvested in 2012 to minimize the disturbance of the swiftlet breeding pairs. Figure 5. Breeding success in Pangi Caves. Allowing birds to reproduce before taking their nests results in population recovery and potentially the development of a sustainable nest production industry to generates enough income for communities to justify to investment in protective measures. Monthly counts of nests were done in 13 caves and showed a maximum of 318 nests from April to June 2012 (Figure 6). This represents a 41% increase in the number of breeding pairs since 2011 (225 nests). Figure 6. Total nest trends throughout the year, with a dip during the wet season when fewer nests are produced. 050100150200250300350Jan Feb March April May June July August Sept Oct Nov Dec
9 Project Outcome 2. Levels of degradation and fragmentation of orang‐utan habitat are reduced by 50% between 2010 and 2013 through improved land use management in human/orang‐utan conflict “hotspots”. In Kinabatangan, forest loss and fragmentation is jeopardising biodiversity by adversely affecting species’ distribution and dispersal patterns, lowering genetic diversity, and threatening habitats and ecosystem services. Planning for connectivity between forests blocks is now crucial to ensure the long‐term viability of the Kinabatangan’s’ biodiversity. With the Kinabatangan Corridor Research Project, Hutan and its partners aim to design a network of conservation corridors and conservation expansion areas within the Kinabatangan. It uses a systematic conservation planning approach to identify high conservation value areas based on threatened species, priority habitats and aboveground carbon stock. Progress in 2012 included the incorporation of conservation opportunities and constraints into the planning process. Land value information and agricultural productivity maps were thus integrated into the planning assessment. Additionally, evaluations of implementation strategies are now being undertaken to secure targeted lands for conservation, focusing on mechanisms such as carbon payments from Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), certified sustainable palm oil certification under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the combined alternative of these mechanism RT‐ REDD+. To integrate these data a specialised area selection algorithm is being developed to select areas based on conservation values and associated financial costs and benefits. In June 2012, Hutan and “ConservationDrones.org” tested the use of drones to conduct aerial surveys of orangutan nests over forest and oil palm plantations (Figure 7). These drones are low‐cost “unmanned aerial vehicles” flying autonomously on pre‐programmed missions and recording highresolution videos and photographs. The tests were successful in recording the presence of nests but the photographs/videos recorded did not allow a more detailed estimation of densities. Activity 2.a. Participate in forest rehabilitation programs in degraded orang‐utan habitat by reforestation of 1 ha Since January 2008, Hutan has engaged in a long‐term project to rehabilitate crucial orangutan habitat in the Lower Kinabatangan. The project aims at recreating a functional forest ecosystem along the Kinabatangan River. By the end of 2012, Hutan’s reforestation team had planted a total of 19.6 ha (in 5 plots), and 9,670 trees (of 25 species) were alive by the end of 2012. The team maintains the reforestation plots (weeding) for an average of 3 years after planting. A new 8 ha reforestation site has been identified and mapped, and will be planted in 2013. Figure 7. Demonstration of the use of a preprogrammed drone to closely monitor vegetation change, countorangutan nests, and potentially detect illegal activities in Kinabatangan.
10 Since 2008, Hutan supports the development of community tree nurseries as an alternative source of income for village families. Fifteen families had their own home nursery set up in Sukau by 2012. More nurseries have been established in the neighbouring villages of Abai, Bilit and Batu Putih. Hutan purchased a total of 2,500 seedlings from these home nurseries in 2012 for its forest restoration programmes for a total price of MYR 3,750 (ca. € 1,000). These figures are expected to increase in 2013 with the opening of new reforestation plots in the Kinabatangan by various conservation programmes. Since 2005, Hutan has worked with a community‐based organization—the “Nature Heritage Conservancy” (NHC) ‐ to identify privately‐owned forested lands that are crucial in re‐connecting wildlife habitat fragments in the Lower Kinabatangan region. International donors purchase these lands thus ensuring that they remain under natural forest cover for perpetuity. In 2012, Hutan and NHC concluded the purchase of 3 parcels of key forested land near Sukau covering a total of 14.9 ha with funds from the World Land Trust UK (WLT) and Hutan. The total area of forests purchased through Hutan and NHC near Sukau since 2005 is now 97 ha. The purchase of another 88.9 ha near Bilit was initiated in 2010. Hutan conduct monthly patrols of the purchased parcels to ensure they are free from illegal activities. Activity 2.b. Build 3 orangutan bridges across small rivers and tributaries to reconnect isolated subpopulations of wildlife. No particular activities were undertaken with regard to the existing orangutan bridges in this reporting period. Activity 3. Reinforce the successful “Honorary Wildlife Warden” project that is being developed in the Kinabatangan 2011 20122011 2012Figure 8. Comparison of forest regrowth following reforestation efforts in the lower Kinabatangan area.
11 Project Outcome 4. Illegal logging, poaching and other illicit activities in the LKWS as reported by the Wildlife Wardens are reduced by at least 50% between 2010 and 2013. Activity 4. Assist the Sabah Wildlife Department and other relevant agencies in law enforcement and management activities with training, staff, equipment and funding through the Honorary Wildlife Warden scheme: Since 2005, Hutan has worked with the Sabah Wildlife Department on a model project where members of the local community are directly involved in the management and protection of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 allows the Sabah Wildlife Department to appoint selected members of the public as “Honorary Wildlife Wardens” (HWW). By the end of 2012, a total of 565 HWWs were appointed and trained by the Sabah Wildlife Department in Sabah. Hutan now counts 16 members of the Kinabatangan community as HWW. The HWW are members of the public working voluntarily to enforce the State wildlife law. In 2012, the head of Hutan’s HWW team was re‐elected as a member of the Sabah Honorary Warden & Ranger Association’s steering committee. In 2012, Hutan’s Honorary Wildlife Warden team conducted 335 patrols in and around the LWKS including 126 boat day patrols, 36 night boat patrols, 93 day car patrols and 80 night car patrols (Figure 9). The HWW also performed roadblocks to detect and arrest illegal hunters and wildlife smugglers. These law enforcement activities by Hutan’s HWW halted 11 cases of illegal activities (mostly poaching and illegal logging) in 2012. In September 2012, Hutan conducted an aerial survey to assess orangutan presence in 20 forest “islands” within oil palm plantations in the Kinabatangan region. This helicopter survey identified orangutan nests in 20 forest patches (or 75% of all forest patches surveyed). Also in 2012, a rescue operation was conducted for two orangutans which had become stranded in a patch of forest being cleared in an oil palm plantation near Sukau. The two orangutans were later translocated to the Lot 6 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Project Outcome 5. Local capabilities enhanced of at least 100 Malaysian conservation professionals Activity 5.a. Develop a training platform in the Lower Kinabatangan for national and international conservation professionals, staff of relevant government agencies, Malaysian students, project staff and local communities (including the upgrading of the existing infrastructure) Since the inception of the Kinabatangan Orang‐Utan Conservation Project, strong commitment has been placed on training local staff to enhance their capacity in conducting conservation related work. In 2012, Hutan Figure 9. Night (left) and river (right) patrols are conducted regularly in the lower Kinabatangan area.
12 staff has attended a total of 24 training programme and courses, on topics including GIS, statistics, hornbill identification and survey methods, environmental education techniques, video editing, tree climbing, tourist guiding, etc. In 2012, Hutan conducted 5 courses providing technical training to 113 Sabahan conservation professionals on wildlife monitoring, law enforcement, environmental education, etc. In 2012, Hutan conducted 6 community training programmes in Sabah involving 101 villagers. Starting in November 2012, five undergraduate students from University Putra Malaysia (Bintulu Campus) have been conducting an internship with Hutan which will continue until March 2013. A total of 60 international undergraduate and graduate students (from the US and Australia) were also trained by Hutan and Red Ape Encounters in basic wildlife conservation and management. In addition to the training courses described above, Hutan staff and directors have participated in more than 70 conferences, workshops and events in Malaysia and internationally in 2012. In addition to this, a team of about 40 people accompanied the official visit to Kinabatangan by Tan Sri Beranrd Dompok, the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Commodities and other VIPs from the Federal and State government. This visit was the opportunity to discuss the environmental issues we face in Kinabatangan (forest destruction and fragmentation; oil palm development; pollution; etc.). Finally, the “Sabah Orangutan Conservation Dialogue 2012” was organized in Kota Kinabalu October 2012. For two days, about 80 representatives from government, NGOs, industry and local communities debated and decided how best implement the “Sabah Orangutan Action Plan” that was launched earlier this year. A major achievement was the creation of the “Sabah Orangutan Conservation Alliance”. Project Outcome 6. Level of environmental awareness raised among stakeholders, general public and school children Activity 6.a. Environmental education programmes for school children in Sabah through the HEAP program, with the following specific interventions: In 2003, Hutan created a special program to address the general lack of awareness on environmental conservation issues in the Lower Kinabatangan. In 2007, this unit was named “Hutan Environmental and Awareness Program” (HEAP) which subsequently extended its scope to schools and communities throughout Sabah. HEAP’s main goal is to incorporate and support Hutan’s overall mission. HEAP’s activities, including environmental education, community awareness programmes and capacity building, aim at strengthening the impact and effectiveness of the other Hutan units. In 2012, HEAP conducted a total of 47 environmental education programmes with 28 primary and secondary schools in 4 districts of Sabah. Activities included presentations, exhibitions, puppet shows, drawing competitions, quizzes, educational games, camping, jungle trekking, tree planting and boat safaris. A total of 5,593 school children and 367 teachers participated in HEAP’s education programmes in 2012 (a near 100% increase compared to the 2,891 children and 179 teachers involved in 2011). In 2012, HEAP conducted 10 awareness programmes involving a total of about 300 community members from 9 villages in 2 districts in Sabah. These programmes included village dialogues on environmental conservation issues, “Fishermen for Conservation” workshops and the annual celebration of the World Environment Day in Sukau. In November 2012, Hutan conducted an in‐depth interview survey on how local communities perceive the values of forest and wildlife in 3 districts of Northwest Sabah. A total of 145 respondents from 15 villages were interviewed during this 10‐day survey. The results will be used to design suitably targeted environmental awareness programmes in these regions of Sabah.
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14 Les Echos N°21329 du 07 Décembre 2012 Page n° 9 VOYAGE Bornéo, lîle au goût sauvage 36 heures de plus à Singapour A deux heures davion de Singapour, Bornéo offre un contraste saisissant. Grands singes, oiseaux inconnus, forêts profondes : un foisonnement de vie et de pure nature à savourer. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kota Kinabalu... Sur le panneau daffichage de laéroport de Changi ‐ lun des plus beaux au monde ‐, ce dernier nom sonne à part au côté de ceux des mégalopoles asiatiques de verre et dacier. Qui en effet connaît « K.K. » (comme tout le monde lappelle ici), la modeste capitale de Bornéo, cette grande île à lexotisme puissant, promesse daventure, de sylve impraticable, de féroces collectionneurs de crânes (jadis) et dinoubliables orangs‐outans, au regard de vieux sages... Car cest dabord pour eux que lon fait le voyage, ces grands singes (les seuls dAsie) au pelage roux qui nexistent plus quà Bornéo et Sumatra, 80 % de leur habitat ayant été déboisé ces vingt dernières années... Réveil de la forêt et des orangs‐outans Cinq heures du matin, peu avant laube. Comme si une puissance occulte avait tourné un interrupteur, dun coup surgissent de la nuit noire les jacasseries des oiseaux, des cris de toutes sortes, beaucoup de bruits inconnus... Cest linstant magique du réveil de la forêt, la splendide forêt de Bornéo, dont il ne reste hélas que des lambeaux (une très large partie du territoire étant
15 désormais consacrée à la culture lucrative du palmier à huile). Pourtant, cest sous ces frondaisons denses, moutonnement continu de cimes dominé de loin en loin par quelques géants aux troncs lisses et clairs, foisonnements dépiphytes et de lianes, que se cachent une faune et une flore ébouriffantes : immenses diptérocarpes touchant le ciel, orchidées sauvages par milliers, orangs‐outans paisibles (11.000 dans lEtat malais de Sabah où nous nous trouvons, 54.000 dans tout Bornéo), nasiques irrésistibles (ces singes pourvus dun gros nez plat et mou qui ont eu les honneurs de Tintin dans « Vol 714 pour Sydney »), éléphants dAsie, 34 espèces doiseaux dont huit de calaos magnifiques... et aussi, pour être honnête, des serpents, des moustiques et des sangsues en pagaille. Ce matin‐là, le fleuve Kinabatangan charrie des eaux couleur havane. Le plus long fleuve de Sabah (« la terre sous le vent »), reste la voie royale pour voir les animaux et débusquer les grands singes dans leurs nids (lorang‐outan en change tous les jours). Il est surtout lendroit dAsie du Sud‐Est où la biodiversité est la plus riche, et où les petits carnivores sont les plus nombreux au monde. Hélas, la providence ne nous aura pas conduits jusquà la merveilleuse panthère nébuleuse... Un poème à elle toute seule. Cest donc là, à Sukau, minuscule village posé au bord du fleuve, quest née voilà quinze ans Hutan, une ONG française reconnue pour la qualité de ses travaux sur les primates. Récemment coupée par un glissement de terrain, la route fait maints détours, contourne un café Internet, une école, quelques Bed & Breakfast, et une petite mosquée, avant de conduire au siège de lorganisation fondée par Isabelle Lackman, primatologue, et Marc Ancrenaz, vétérinaire. « En 1994, lorsque nous sommes arrivés ici, il ny avait personne. Nous nous intéressions déjà aux orangs‐outans et souhaitions créer notre propre projet de recherche », explique Isabelle Lackman. Très vite, la petite structure sest développée. Aujourdhui elle emploie 55 personnes quasiment toutes originaires de Sukau. Outre la conservation des grands singes, Hutan a monté une unité qui replante des variétés darbres appréciées par les orangs‐outans, une unité en charge des écoles et une troisième qui protège les grottes de Gomantong où deux millions dhirondelles ont établi leur colonie; elle travaille enfin sur des recensements de la biodiversité à Sabah. Une émanation de Hutan (Red Ape Encounters) accueille et guide 300 visiteurs par an; des privilégiés qui, au côté de ces spécialistes, pourront au fil dune croisière dobservation de la vie sauvage, rencontrer de paisibles groupes de nasiques ou délégants langurs, approcher quantité doiseaux et papillons, et, enfin, senfoncer en forêt pour sapprocher ‐ les jours de chance ‐ tout près de Juliana et sa petite Félicité dans leur nid, et leurs congénères. Pierres de Bézoard et brumes dopale Retour à K.K. Pour les antiques géographes grecs, arabes, chinois, et pendant des siècles encore après eux, la grande île de Bornéo nest quune rumeur de Pérou, un pays cousu dor. Les premières descriptions mentionnent encore les richesses de ses forêts, le camphre, la cire, lencens, mais aussi des produits très exotiques dont on na pas idée en Europe : les nids dhirondelles, les cornes de rhinocéros, les précieuses pierres de Bézoard aussi appelées « pierres de fiel » ou « perles destomac » et que le dictionnaire de lAcadémie française définissait en 1694 comme une « pierre engendrée dans le corps dun animal des Indes » et précisait quils étaient « souverains contre les venins ». Accaparée par les marchands britanniques à la fin du XIXe siècle, K.K. devient lun des fleurons de la British Malaya. Aujourdhui, nescomptez pas retrouver latmosphère des romans malais de Joseph
16 Conrad dans les rues de la ville, rasée à deux reprises par les Alliés pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale... On ne manquera pas cependant de terminer cette escapade naturaliste par un séjour de détente dans les îles du parc marin Tunku Abdul Rahman, à 30 minutes de bateau rapide de laéroport de K.K. Un bel hôtel vient douvrir sur celle de Gaya, petit frère du Pangkor Laut Resort au large de la péninsule malaise, maintes fois primé. Tout juste terminé, Gaya Island Resort dispose de grandes villas sur pilotis en bord de plage, de vastes chambres bien équipées, dun vrai spa aux thérapeutes remarquables, de deux restaurants, dont le très agréable Fishermans Cove surplombant la mer. A quelques encablures, Sapi Island offre ses eaux translucides, ses coraux et sa myriade de poissons de toutes les couleurs. Centre de plongée sur place et possibilité dexcursions dans la forêt primaire qui couvre lîle. Cette forêt luxuriante aux brumes dopale où dorment encore nos rêves daventure.Anne‐Marie Gélinet