Undertake targeted habitat improvement inside protected areas

For the Malayan tapir regenerating logged forest is probably an ideal habitat. Sustainably managed production forests may be  superior habitat to closed canopy forest, as long as forest blocks are large enough to sustain a viable population.

Other habitat modifications are needed to meet the nutritional needs of the two endangered species of wild cattle found in Malaysia. The Malayan seladang and Bornean banteng grasses are a major components of their diet. This is true also of the Asian elephant and sambar deer. In Peninsular Malaysia, sambar deer are an important prey species for Malayan tiger.

Tin protected areas such as former logging roads, log stumping sites and areas affected by fire to pastures

With the Responsible Elephant ConservationTrust (RESPECT), BORA is currently involved in establishing an example elephant pasture near Telupid, Sabah.

Make space for wildlife in mixed landscapes

After logged forest, big plantations arethe main user of land in Malaysia. Lowland areas that form the current dayagricultural landscape was formerly the main wildlife habitat for large mammals.The locations of these plantations tend to be where large-bodied wildlife usedto thrive, due to fertile soils and high productivity of food plants.

Farms and plantations could potentially help sustain populations of those wild species that cause minimal damage to crops by providing space for feeding and for moving between protected areas. This would apply in the Malaysian context to oil palm, rubber and industrial tree plantations.

In the Kinabatangan region of Sabah, mixed landscapes of forest and plantations is especially important to the sparse population of Bornean orangutans, where 90% of the land is under oil palm. Male orangutans are known to travel through the landscape to mate with females living in scattered forest patches.

BORA is currently partnering oil palm plantations in conducting experimental habitat restoration in favour of orangutans. This involves enriching riparian zones, slopes, infertile sites, High Conservation Value sites and other set-aside lands with the favoured food plants of the orangutans.

This initiative is led by BORA as a component of the WWF Living Landscapes programme, funded by WWF-Malaysia/Unilever. The source of planting materials is primarily the Sabah Ficus Germplasm Centre in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Consider conservation breeding

In cases where the long-term survival of a species in its natural habitat has become untenable, it may be necessary to bring individuals together in managed enclosures with the goal of maximising birth rate. The priority should be to prevent extinction before overall numbers and adequate breeding success reaches a point of no return.

The European bison, Arabian oryx, Californian condor and Black-footed ferret are just some examples of endangered species that would now be extinct if this approach had not been applied.

Establish new populations in suitable areas

Hunting might not be the sole cause of disappearance of a species from a given area. It might be that the current small clusters of animals are in sub-optimal habitator on infertile soils, or the habitat is now too small to support a breeding population.

Despite prevailing concerns over poaching, past hunting might have wiped out a species in places where it could now survive and breed. It is in general safer to have several separate populations of endangered species ratherthan just one or two.

Challenges: local human concerns if the species is considered as dangerous or destructive; availability of source animals; risk of in breeding if the founder group is too small; only some individuals of some species can adapt well to a new habitat; the details and logistics of the operation; post-translocation monitoring.

Examples: wild cattle, Malayan tapir

Possible treatment: try with an example species in a well-thought-out situation. For a few species and a few places, rewilding maybe a vital option.

In Malaysia, this will likely be necessary to prevent the extinction of the Malayan tiger. The process will be difficult - but not impossible.

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Wildlife biologists have already been collecting cells of endangered wildlife and preserving them in liquid nitrogen. In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer into healthy females is done routinely in some livestock species (as well as in humans) but not, so far, for wildlife.

Cultures of living mammal cells are routine in some laboratories. It is now technically possible to create gametes (sperm and egg cells) from mammal somatic cell cultures, and to create embryos.

Gametes, embryos and cell cultures can be preserved indefinitely in liquid nitrogen. It is better - sooner rather than later - to establish a programme to maintain gametes and cultures of the cells of all individuals of endangered species from which samples can be taken before they die.

This approach should be considered as part of a long term strategy, and assumes that some species may be wiped out or very nearly so due to human population growth, excessive use of natural resources and global heating effects.

Future reproductive technologies will be significantly more advanced than those available at present. A Reproductive Innovation Centre for Wildlife and Livestock (RICWL) has been established in Faculty of Sustainable Agriculture, Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Sandakan, and has a collection of cryopreserved gametes of several endangered wildlife species.

International Islamic University Malaysia, Pahang, maintains living cell cultures of the last three Malaysian Sumatran rhinos. It will be a relatively simple matter to take semen samples from living male Malayan tigers currently in captivity in Malaysia, and cryo-preserve samples in liquid nitrogen; if egg cells are also taken from female tigers, embryos could be made and cryopreserved.

It is prudent to initiate a programme to obtain and stow the cryo-preserved materials in current facilities for potential future opportunities. It would also be possible to engage with facilities that house Malayan tigers (and other endangered species) outside Malaysia in order to widen the available gene pool.

Operation Sumatran Rhino (BM version)

"Operation Sumatran Rhino" which premiered in 2016 chronicled the desperate quest to find the last Sumatran rhinos in Sabah's forest in order to try to save this critically endangered species. Filmed over three years, the documentary captures the highs of finding a new rhino, and the suspense of moving her to the sanctuary in Tabin. For a short time, she kindled hope that it would be possible to revive the species. Alas, by 2019, the last of the rhinos in Malaysia passed away. "Operation Sumatran Rhino" was part of the Mission Critical series of documentaries which were featured on National Geographic; it was written and directed by Chris Annadorai and produced by Lydia Lubon. This version in BM may be viewed in full on the website.