Grant 2006 – SOS Rhino Community Outreach Programme, Sabah Malaysia

SOS Rhino is a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving the five rhinoceros species in their natural habitats.  Through diverse stakeholder support, its programmes directly build on the capacity of countries to conserve by raising local awareness and promoting protection of habitat and animals.  The primary goal of SOS Rhino is to build sustainable conservation of the rhino.

The Government of Malaysia is very concerned about the preservation of their indigenous cultures, and has been supportive of attempts to help local villages.  One source of local income is eco-tourism.  While protection of the Rhino, other wildlife and nature is crucial, the area has great potential as a tourist destination and initial efforts have been underway to begin development of some of the infrastructure needed to support tourism.

Through the Community Outreach Program, SOS Rhino has made significant progress in the early development of ecotourism in the area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Malaysian State of Sabah, where Sumatran Rhinos are found.  Working with Community Outreach Programme officers, local stakeholders and villagers are encouraged to enlist their commitments in the conservation effort.

It is projected that the start-up fund donated from PATA Foundation, along with annual earnings from the volunteer program, can allow the Community Outreach Program to self-sustain within three years.