Heart of Borneo (HoB): Copenhagen Zoo ready to assist Sarawak long-term

Second Urban Development and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan beating the gong to launch 'Heart of Borneo (HoB) Scientific Expedition, Tama Abu Seminar 2018: When the Beat Becomes Rhythm' at a hotel here today. Holst is third from left.

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KUCHING, June 26: Copenhagen Zoo is willing to commit a long term working relationship with Sarawak in the conservation of the Heart of Borneo (HoB), said its director Bengt Holst.

Citing the presence of Copenhagen Zoo in Malaysia since 1999, he said the zoo would remain for as long as it could.

“When we are doing conservation in any part of the world, we have to have long-term commitment. We cannot just do conservation in an area for one or two years, as long as it is up in the press and has big PR (public relations) values.

“We have to stay back until the job is done,” he said at the opening of ‘Heart of Borneo (HoB) Scientific Expedition, Tama Abu Seminar 2018: When the Beat Becomes Rhythm’ and the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sarawak government and Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark, at a hotel here today.

Another important aspect, he said, was the involvement of the local community.

“We need to build our activities based on the involvement of the local community. We should not come and tell people what to do. We should not come and just do our own research and our own in situ conservation activities without doing it in partnership with those who are living here and responsible for the area.

“We are just here to help and to assist wherever we can assist,” he said.

Holst said Copenhagen Zoo was founded in 1859 with only 11 hectares of land. However, it has now become a scientific-based conservation organisation doing conversation in situ and ex situ.

According to him, the zoo conservation work was built on three pillars: fascination, interpretation and research.

He explained that fascination focused on creating interest among the visitors coming to the zoo, while interpretation intended to create a sense of responsibility through creating of awareness of what conservation is and how it could be done.

In terms of research, Holst said Copenhagen was a “very big consumer of research in the zoo as knowledge is needed to ensure proper management of the zoo”.

With their in situ research activities here and following the signing of the MoU today, he foresaw much comparing of research on animals to be done from working together with Sarawak. — DayakDaily