From 2013 to 2015, a River Keeper Unit was set resulting from a collaboration between the SWD, the NGO HUTAN and DGFC. It consisted of a team of two local honorary wildlife wardens who monitored wildlife and its threats along the river and within the LKWS. The unit conducted day and night patrols to monitor and prevent illegal activities such as encroachment into riparian reserves, as well as illegal logging and hunting. It also monitored tourism activities along the Kinabatangan river stopping any boat approaching the elephants too closely or tourists from disembarking on forbidden areas of the riparian corridor.
The collaboration with the NGO HUTAN goes back before DGFC was established. HUTAN has been running the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme (KOCP) since 1996. Their intensive study site is located in Lot 2 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. KOCP’s site is a 4 km2 forest area in which in which KOCP research assistants conduct behavioural observations on habituated orang-utans.
HUTAN and Benoît Goossens started their collaboration back in 1999 and this has continued between HUTAN and DGFC until today.