Skip links

Virtual IPOSC 2020, Biodiversity Conservation Webinar, Human and Wildlife Co-existence; Turning Conflict into Co-existence

August 26, 2020

MPOC organized its biodiversity conservation webinar on 12 August 2020 in conjunction with the World Elephant Day, with the theme ‘Human and Wildlife Co-existence: Turning Conflict into Co-existence’. The webinar was conducted virtually through the Zoom Platform that brought together wildlife experts, NGOs and oil palm industry players to discuss the possibility of human-wildlife co-existence within oil palm plantation landscapes and conserving biodiversity.

310 registered participants logged in. The webinar started with an opening remark from MPOC and was followed by presentations from four panellists, namely from IUCN Oil Palm Taskforce, Wildlife Trust of India, Sabah Wildlife Department and FELDA. The focus of the webinar was on human-wildlife co-existence covering topics on:

  • Making biodiversity conservation in oil palm landscapes better
  • Biodiversity conservation: Turning conflict into coexistence – an Asian experience
  • Human-Wildlife Coexistence – Can this be made possible?
  • Human-Wildlife coexistence from oil palm industry’s perspective

Please find here the presentations from the workshop for downloads:


Paper 1 : Making Biodiversity Conservation in Oil Palm Landscapes Better

Mr. Erik Meijaard
IUCN Palm Oil Taskforce, Chair

Prof. Erik Meijaard is the Chair for IUCN Palm Oil Taskforce and Director for Borneo Futures Sdn Bhd, based in Brunei Darussalam. He is also an Adjunct Professor for School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He has vast experience in researching tropical environmental topics, impact assessment of forestry on wildlife and related policy guidance, sustainability assessments plantation and forestry industries, land use planning and management, species conservation management, community forestry and natural resource use, environmental conservation strategies, biodiversity surveys, ecological monitoring and conservation effectiveness measures, conservation policy research and advice, environmental economics and carbon trading, and ecological, taxonomic and evolutionary research.


Paper 2 : Biodiversity Conservation: Turning Conflict into Co-existence – an Asian Experience

Mr. Vivek Menon
Wildlife Trust India, CEO/ Founder

Mr. Vivek Menon is a leading Indian wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author, photographer and policy think tank with a passion for elephants. Founder of five environmental and nature conservation organisations, Mr. Menon spearheads Wildlife Trust of India as its Founder, Executive Director and CEO since 1998, one of India’s best wildlife NGOs. Mr. Menon is the current Chair of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group, a Member of the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee and Member of the Conservation Translocation Specialist Group of IUCN involving the Asian Rhino, cat, threatened waterfowl and medicinal plants. He won the Clark R Bavin Award in 2019, the Whitley Continuation Award (2018), the Round Glass Samsara Lifetime Achievement Award (2017) and the Rufford Award (2001) for International Conservation for his work to conserve the Asian elephant.


Paper 3 : Human-Wildlife Co-existence – Can this be Made Possible?

Dr. Senthilvel Nathan
Sabah Wildlife Department

Dr Senthilvel K.S.S. Nathan (a.k.a. Sen Nathan) graduated from University Putra Malaysia with a Degree in Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M) in 1997. He is currently with Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), and was the Manager and Veterinarian for the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan. He is presently based in Kota Kinabalu. As the SWD’s Assistant Director, he oversees SWD’s various conservation programs such as the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary, the Borneo Elephant Sanctuary, and the Sabah Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). He is also a member of the IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group. Dr Sen has been involved in numerous wildlife rescue and translocation operations in Sabah.


Paper 4 : Human-Wildlife Co-existence from Oil Palm Industry’s Perspective

Mr. Izham Mustaffa

Mr. Izham Mustaffa is the Head of the Corporate Planning for Plantation, FELDA. Mr. Izham has more than 20 years experience in the palm oil and rubber industries. He has been actively involved in many international and local seminars, conferences and forums to promote sustainability in oil palm and rubber industries. He has also actively promoting “Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)” amongst smallholders in Malaysia.


Some key points highlighted in the webinar are:

  1. Orangutans have been found to be able to adapt and survive in oil palm plantation landscapes in Sabah.
  2. Both political will and people are important to achieve co-existence with elephants.
  3. Bornean Elephant Action Plan for Sabah could drive the human-elephant co-existence but it requires strong political will. In addition, NGOs have to keep pushing harder for conservation efforts towards achieving wildlife co-existence.
  4. More collaboration is needed between oil palm industry, government agencies, NGOs and academia to achieve human-elephant co-existence.

During the Q&A session, 54 feedbacks were recorded, from both attendees and panellists. However, due to time constraints, the panellists were only able to respond to about 25% of the questions.

Overall, the 96 minutes webinar received overwhelming participation and response from audience around the world. An important take home message is that everyone agreed that conservation of biodiversity in Malaysia is important and the way forward is for human and wildlife to co-exist. This new paradigm, however, requires strong political and public will.