Happy World Environment Day 2020

If you want to do something good for the environment and celebrate this year's World Environment Day, you can donate to Regrow Borneo and support the planting of trees in the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain (eastern Sabah, Borneo), one of the last places on Earth where you can encounter elephants, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, clouded leopards, sun bears, 8 species of hornbills and much more. Support Regrow Borneo and donate to plant trees and make this planet a better place for us and our future generations! Enjoy the following video from our friend Dame Judi Dench!

Online Art Contest

CALLING FOR ENTRIES!! Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) is pleased to announce our June ART CONTEST, open to anyone residing in Malaysia. This month’s theme is MALAYSIA’S ENDANGERED WILDLIFE SPECIES, chosen to encourage people to learn more about the endangered wildlife species in Malaysia. To identify these species, contestants may check these websites : 8 Endangered Animals in Malaysia Earth’s Endangered Creatures   To participate, please read carefully the important info stated as follows:   GENERAL CONDITIONS:
  • Artwork must be original and not overly derivative of images found in the internet, print media, or elsewhere. To avoid copyright infringement, works considered to be copies will be disqualified.
  • Only Malaysia’s wildlife species will be contemplated.
  • Contestants will retain copyright of their submitted entries. However, by entering, all contestants grant DGFC a royalty-free perpetual licence to edit, publish and use each entry in any and all media (including print and online) for education, publicity and news purposes.
  IMPORTANT DATES: 3rd June 2020      - Contest is open. 23rd June 2020    - Closing date. Latest by 5:00pm. 30th June 2020    - Announcement of winner.   JUDGING CRITERIA: Concept (25%)                               - How well does the work relate to the topic/theme? Creativity & originality (25%)    - How original and creative is the quality of the artwork? Colour (25%)                                 - How does colour enhance the artwork? Expressions (25%)                       - How imaginatively does the work convey an idea?   SUBMISSION OF ARTWORK
  • Create a digital image (scan or photograph), and save and submit your artwork in high resolution (300 dpi). You can save it either in JPEG or PDF format.
  • Provide a SHORT CAPTION to describe your artwork
  • Provide the following information: full name, IC/passport number, contact number, address, and artwork caption
  • Artwork should be submitted to
  • Only ONE winner per contest. Winner will receive a combo of DGFC’s t-shirt, books, and merchandise.
  • Top ten artworks will be posted on DGFC’s official pages.
  ENQUIRY For more information, email us at or WhatsApp 017-8310204 (Maz)

Leopard cat satellite tagged in the Kinabatangan

A Joint Press Release from Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre Leopard cat satellite tagged in the Kinabatangan Kinabatangan: A wild female leopard cat was caught and fitted with a satellite collar in the Kinabatangan, as part of Danau Girang Field Centre’s (DGFC) Carnivore Programme, a collaborative project with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD). The animal was caught and satellite-collared during a night survey in Pendirosa estate (Felda Global Venture Co.). “The procedure was very successful. The team worked well together and we collected samples and fitted a satellite collar on a young female leopard cat. We called her “Ratu”, meaning “Queen” in Malay,” said Dr. Macarena Gonzalez, wildlife veterinarian at DGFC. “Ratu is the first leopard cat collared as part of this project. Hopefully we will be able to catch and collar more leopard cats to study their movement through this fragmented landscape, and to understand how they use it. Movement data will assist us in understanding how such a resilient species utilizes both landscapes: forest and oil palm plantation,” said Dr. Miriam Kunde, project leader and carnivore conservation officer at DGFC. The Carnivore Programme goes in tandem with DGFC’s Health at the Edge Project (H@EP), led by Dr. Sergio Guerrero-Sanchez and Dr. Liesbeth Frias, Research Associates at DGFC. “Our project aims to tackle health-related problems from an integrated ecological, veterinary and human health approach. For this particular component of the project, we are targeting leopard cats as sentinels to assess the potential effects of anthropogenic disturbance on the health of Bornean cat populations,” explained Dr. Frias. “Leopard cats can be found inhabiting a broad range of habitat types, including oil palm plantations. By using them as a model species, we aim to assess cross-species transmission at the wildlife-human interface, as their home ranges can potentially overlap those of domestic carnivores in plantations, and those of more vulnerable cats in adjacent forests,” added Dr. Guerrero-Sanchez. Both projects are supervised by Dr. Benoit Goossens, DGFC’s Director and Professor at Cardiff University. “A better understanding of the movements of this wild felid will help us evaluating the impacts of habitat fragmentation and quality in ranging patterns of this species in the Kinabatangan landscape. Leopard cats, and the potential for disease transmission between them and domestic animals, provide a relevant model to evaluate the potential health risks threatening other species, such as flat-headed cats and marbled cats”, said Dr. Goossens. “We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Pendirosa estat management for their continuous collaboration on this project and the main sponsors of ou Carnivore Programme and H@EP: Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong, Sime Darby Foundation, Houston Zoo and Panthera,” concluded Dr. Goossens.

DGFC’s Education Team Goes to Kudat!

From 23rd to 25th April, our education team travelled to Kudat for its first Wildlife Awareness and Education Outreach Programme 2019 at three schools in the district, namely SK Matunggong, SK Sikuati and SMK Sikuati II. We planned this programme with the main objective of raising awareness and understanding of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, as well as to inspire school students to become future leaders in the conservation of wildlife in Sabah. The education teams from the Sabah Wildlife Department and HUTAN also joined us in this programme to share their knowledge and experience in wildlife conservation. Altogether, the teams received a very warm welcome and an enthusiastic response from over 950 students from the 7 - 17 years old age groups. The younger kids participated in the making and colouring of elephant masks, guessing animal sounds and acting out wildlife behaviours, while the older ones were involved in wildlife talk sessions and interactive activities. We also screened the Borneo Jungle Diaries Season 2, focusing on the pangolin, elephant, clouded leopard and hornbill episodes. We would like to thank Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Sabah and Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Kudat for allowing and entrusting us to carry out this programme. We greatly appreciate the excellent cooperation and continued support from Sabah Wildlife Department and our friends at HUTAN. Our biggest thanks and appreciation go out to the schools’ students and teachers for making our programme a rousing success. Thank you, Kudat! Next, our team will be going to schools in Kota Marudu in May, Kota Belud in June and Penampang in July.


On behalf of the Ramirez Saldivar and Goossens Salgado families, I am taking the opportunity to commemorate Diana at almost two months of her passing. I met Diana for the first time when she came from Mexico to Sabah eight years ago, invited by my wife, Milena Salgado Lynn, also Mexican, to work as a wildlife veterinarian for the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit. Milena tells me of the feisty, hard-working and committed woman with whom she shared a bedroom almost 20 years ago. Back then, Diana had dreams of always working for wildlife, something she had already volunteered for, even as a teenager, in a couple of zoos in Mexico. ‘Tia Dianin’ (my son’s nickname for her) was 28 years old when she arrived in Kota Kinabalu, full of hopes and still determined to make a difference for wildlife conservation. For administrative reasons, she obtained a work permit under Danau Girang Field Centre, as a wildlife anaesthetist, although she was always under the leadership of Dr Sen Nathan, manager of the Wildlife Rescue Unit and Assistant Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department. Diana was the most amazingly vibrant, feeling, loving, creative force you could imagine. She was full of passion for animals, domestic and wild. Unfortunately, she was also feeling very lonely in a world that is, most of the time, very unfair and brutal for someone fragile like Diana who could be manipulated and abused. After many years of suffering of severe chronic depression, borderline personality disorder, anorexia, and a toxic relationship with a person I won’t mention here, she decided to end her days because she felt hopeless, disappointed by those she trusted the most, and to finally find peace in her mind and heart. My honest expression of the pain, anger and guilt her suicide leaves behind will not bring her back, but it could help others facing the same kind of loss know they are not alone. I want to honour Diana’s struggles because they are struggles that many people around us traverse. I would like to make a strong call for greater awareness and conversation about the often-forbidden topics of mental illness and suicide, especially in Malaysia. For the past eight weeks, since Diana passed, I have been blaming myself for not being there for her, wondering what I missed. When persons kill themselves, they leave a body behind, they leave broken hearts behind, and they leave a question behind: why? “Why?” is the great mystery of suicide and for many people, like me, that question can haunt and torment them all their lives, robbing them of any chance of peace. Twenty-three years ago, my father committed suicide and until today, I’m still asking myself the question: why? No matter how challenging our relationship with Diana was, it also held moments of joy, friendship, compassion, happiness and achievement in wildlife conservation that deserve to be remembered and that I will be cherishing the rest of my life. I will always remember the first proboscis monkey we darted and collared, the massive elephant bull named Gading we tracked for hours in the forest in the Kinabatangan, finally darting and collaring him, the crocodile we restrained in order to set it up with a satellite tag, the Sunda pangolin we released back into the forest, the many discussions we had about wildlife poaching and trade, something we fought hard together and wanted to bring to an end. I will personally continue the fight in her memory and for the future generations. Even after her passing, Diana continued to save lives through the gift of organ donation. Her liver was transplanted to a 29 year-old lady who has been diagnosed with congenital hepatic fibrosis with portal hypertension since the age of 7. One kidney was given to a 44 year-old gentleman, another kidney went a 34 year-old lady. Both recipients suffered end stage kidney failure and had been put on dialysis for 18 years. Her right cornea was received by a 74 year-old gentleman with pseudophakic bullous keratopathy and the left one by a 34 year-old gentleman with impending perforation corneal ulcer. Diana’s heart valves are kept in the homograft bank at the National Heart Institute (IJN, Malaysia), and her bones at the Hospital University Sains Malaysia’s (HUSM) bone bank to be used when there is a patient in need. To this date, Diana already saved three human lives, restored the sight of two people, and her remaining tissues will benefit at least another 9 patients. Diana is a real unsung wildlife hero, a true Sabah’s wildlife warrior! She deserves respect and recognition for her achievements in wildlife conservation, for her fight to save animals, wild and domestic, in Sabah. To this end, I have decided to set up the Diana Ramirez Conservation Fund in her memory, aiming to support meaningful local conservation initiatives in Sabah, especially for the elephants that she loved so much. Diana, Sabah will not forget you!

Benoit Goossens Director of Danau Girang Field Centre  

We’re TEN years old!

DGFC is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The centre opened its doors in July 2008 and we’re marking the occasion with a scientific seminar focusing on the themes: “Landscape Ecology”, “Genetics, disease, ecotoxicology and trade”, and “Partners from research and community”. Presentations will be on the results of scientific projects that have been led by or in collaboration with DGFC, as well as on conservation activities carried out with a few of our partners. The DGFC’s Tenth Anniversary report can be consulted here.

Conservation in Action

State action plans for three species (proboscis monkey, banteng and clouded leopard) will be launched within DGFC’s tenth anniversary celebrations. In 2017 DGFC organised three international workshops focusing on each of those species with the aim of gathering all possible knowledge on them and promoting discussions among relevant stakeholders. The discussion from those workshops translated into 10-year management plans that have been supported by the Sabah Wildlife Department. It is expected they will be adopted by the State Cabinet next year.