HUTAN Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme

HUTAN is a grassroot non-profit organization dedicated to conserving the Bornean orangutan, Borneo pygmy elephants and other wildlife species in the forests of the Lower Kinabatangan and across Sabah. In 1998, HUTAN initiated the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP), a collaboration between the Lower Kinabatangan community and the Sabah Wildlife Department. To achieve their vision, HUTAN has developed a holistic strategy combining long-term scientific research, wildlife and habitat protection and management, policy work, capacity building, education and awareness, as well as community outreach and development. 

HUTAN’s primary areas of intervention and influence are located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The over-arching mission is to identify ways for people and wildlife to co-exist peacefully within and outside totally protected areas. HUTAN’s overall goals are -

  • Enhancing scientific knowledge of the ecology and conservation status of orangutans, Borneo pygmy elephants and other key species in Kinabatangan and other priority areas in Sabah.
  • Reduce pressure on wildlife populations and habitats.
  • Enhancing human resource capacity and commitment to manage and conserve wildlife populations in Sabah.
  • Improving policy framework for wildlife population management within and outside protected areas.

HUTAN’s long-range intended impact is to sustain meta-populations of large ranging species including the Critically Endangered Bornean orangutan and Borneo pygmy elephant across entire landscapes encompassing fully protected forests and production areas. This includes better understanding of wildlife needs in fragmented and highly transformed landscapes; ecosystems’ restoration and reforestation; habitat and wildlife protection; better acceptance of a peaceful co-existence between people and animals; improved policies and land-use planning.

In 2008, HUTAN created a Core Wildlife Warden Team to protect and monitor the wildlife and habitat within the Kinabatangan Sanctuary, while also engaging in community outreach and conservation programmes in the area.  In 2016, the team was renamed ‘Wildlife Survey and Protection’ or WSP, following a shift of activities. In addition to human-wildlife conflict mitigation and regular patrolling, the unit embarked upon regular long-term wildlife survey and monitoring activities in Kinabatangan and other areas in Sabah. 

The International Elephant Project has provided funding to the Wildlife rangers in Kinabatangan since 2008.