Borneo In Picture: Brunei Kampung Air Boats

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Malaysian Palm Oil Advert Banned In UK

A magazine advertisement on Malaysian palm oil has been banned in the United Kingdom, with UK’s Advertising Standards Agency saying claims made in the ad were “misleading and could not be substantiated.”

Below is the screenshot of the said advertisement, click on it to view the original.

advert

The advertisement, placed by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, among others claimed that Malaysian palm oil was “sustainable” and contributed to “the alleviation of poverty, especially amongst rural populations.”

The agency acknowledged that efforts have been made to tackle illegal deforestation associated with palm oil plantations but stressed that concerns remained about the “indirect effects” of the palm oil industry’s expansion.

Survival International, the movement for tribal people, has urged the Malaysian government to halt plantations and logging on lands owned by the Penan tribe in Sarawak.

It quoted an unnamed Penan tribe member as welcoming the ban, saying: “Our people welcome the ban on the magazine advert by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council. How come the advert claimed that palm oil helps alleviate poverty, when from the very beginning oil palm plantations have destroyed our source of livelihood and made us much poorer? A lot of people are hungry every day because our forest has been destroyed.”

What palm oil critics do not understand, says MPOC

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, in a press release titled “What the critics don’t understand” said the palm oil industry provides jobs and incomes to those who need it; satisfies consumer demand for quality cooking and food ingredients; and is powering a greener energy future across the planet.

“None of these facts is appreciated by our critics who come from wealthy developed countries and have no sense of the genuine challenges facing the developing world,” MPOC CEO Dr Yusof Basiron said.

Sarawak Set To Join “Orang Utan” List

Sarawak, a state not always known for its wildlife, is set to join the “orang utan hall of fame”.

The orang utan population in the state now stands at 2,500 and plans are afoot to increase its population through conservation and sustainable development, an official said.

State forestry director Len Talif Salleh said orang utan population had been stable for some years, which he said was a testimony to the state’s success in conservation.

“We want to increase the population to three, four or even five thousand in the years to come,” he said.

Sarawak’s Belaga District Featured On Time Magazine

Writer Tim Kinseth travelled to Belaga, an upriver district in Sarawak, and wrote an article in the Time magazine about how he felt that things were not quite as it used to be.

Boy Beheaded by Father’s Enemy

A man beheaded his enemy’s five-year-old son in what The Star newspaper reported as a result of a feud between two families.

The incident took place in Lahad Datu in the east coast of Sabah, the Malaysian state in northern Borneo, on Wednesday.

The boy’s head was allegedly chopped off by his father’s enemy, who then placed it in a bucket before fleeing the scene with his wife and daughter at 4pm on Wednesday, the report says.

Lahad Datu acting district police chief Deputy Supt Lee Chee Yong said yesterday that police were looking for the 27-year-old suspect, who was living in the same house as the victim and his parents.

“Our investigations indicate that the parents of the boy and the suspect had a longstanding feud,” he said.

The boy’s parents were not at home during the incident.

Extreme Wall Climbing On Borneo’s Alpine — Mount Kinabalu

Hanging...

Hanging...

It’s not for nothing that Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo island is promoted as a place where one can enjoy nature and adventure in its fine element from the mountain top to the bottom of the sea. If divers can enjoy one of the world’s finest, if not the finest, wall diving in Sipadan Island, a completely different adventure awaits extreme wall climbing enthusiasts at Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the New Guineas and the Himalayas.

Vertical camp

Vertical camp

No one proclaims yet that Mount Kinabalu is among the world’s finest wall climbing destinations but looking at how these dare-devils conquer the mountain on its most treacherous route — what can be more treacherous than hanging from rocks or scaling the mountain walls at 90 degrees gradient — I couldn’t help but thinking that the mountain could be among the finest place for wall climbing.

Check out this amazing production, not to mention stunning photography, which documents of the whole Mount Kinbabalu wall climbing adventure.

[Photo credit: Borneo Dispatches]

Leaders Gather in Manado for Coral Triangle Initiative

Leaders of six countries — Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste — are gathering in Manado, in Sulawesi, Indonesia in a bid to save the region’s coral.

Amazon of the Ocean... Graphic by WWF

Amazon of the Ocean... Graphic by WWF

Dubbed the Coral Triangle Initiative, the meeting seeks to arrest the degradation of the region’s corals and marine heritage, which are under threats from global warming and destructive fishing methods.

Borneo, in particular the waters off its eastern coast, is an integral part of the WWF-led Coral Triangle initiative that covers 5.7 million sq kilometre area dubbed the “Amazon of the Ocean”.

The coral triangle, which houses 76 per cent of the world’s coral species and 50 per cent of the world’s reef fish species, is WWF’s top priority in its marine conservation.

Three coral-rich waters in Sabah in the northern tip of Borneo, are among areas in the Coral Triangle.

They are the Tun Mustapha Marine Management Area in Marudu Bay, Turtle Islands Protected Area off Sandakan and Tun Sakaran Marine Park off Semporna which houses world premier diving site and New Seven Wonders of Nature nominee, Sipadan Island.

WWF says the Coral Triangle “holds the richest concentration of iridescent corals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks and marine plants in the world”.

“Labyrinths of limestone reefs, extensive sea grass meadows and coastal mangrove forests attract sea turtles and giants of the sea such as humpback whales to feed, breed and rest in the rich and sheltered waters.”

Sipadan Picking Up Speed in the Race for the “New Seven Wonders of Nature”

Sipadan Island is picking up momentum in the race for the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

The premier diving site off the east coast of Sabah is now ranked Number 14, from Number 18 about four weeks ago.

sipadan-rank

As you can see from the screenshot above [live ranking here] Sipadan Island is just three rungs short of being among the elite 77 group of nominees and for that it needs to be in rank Number 11.

Why 77 is important?

There are several stages in the voting process, the first being to select 77 out of 261 nominees, voting of which is under way until mid-July this year.

There will be another round of voting to select 21 nominees from the group of 77. Of the 21, seven will be selected as the New Seven Wonders of Nature, results of which will be announced in 2011.

To be in position Number 11, Sipadan needs to knock out Bocas del Toro, Ko Phi Phi Island and Maldives Archipelago.

Sipadan needs your votes now to make it to Number 11, and to remain in the group of 77 “elite” nominees.

Sipadan is Now Officially Supported for New Seven Wonders of Nature

The Sabah Tourism Board has become the Official Supporting Committee for Sipadan Island in the bid to list the premier diving site as the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

sipadan-osc

Previously, the tropical island is listed as “not officially supported”, rendering it ineligible for the next rounds of voting.

sipadan1

Now that an Official Supporting Committee has been formed, we can now vote for Sipadan Island, which has moved from Rank 18 a month ago to Rank 14 in the Islands Category. Sipadan needs to be in Rank 11 to place itself among 77 nominees for the next stage of voting.

Sipadan Island is in number 18 a month ago.

Saving Borneo’s Orangutan

Biologist and forester in Indonesia, Willie Smits, shares his experience in restoring clearcut rainforest in Borneo’s Kalimantan in this video.

In the process, he restores the forest’s habitat, lowers the area’s temperature, saves the orang utan and empowers the local economy.

The full screen video can be viewed here.