Earthworm Foundation's Rurality Team and Smallholder Volunteer team with IOIEO's Senior Manager (Supply Chain) Mr Lawrence Chong (middle).
In support and appreciation of the volunteer group that conducts nightly surveillance in minimising Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) situations, IOI Edible Oils Sdn Bhd (IOIEO) has provided each team member with equipment and gears to aid this patrolling programme. Ulu Muanad HEC Volunteer Group, also known as the 7 Team, are composed of voluntary smallholder farmers. This group was initiated by Earthworm Foundation back in 2018 through their Rurality Project in Sabah, with the objective to empower smallholders to implement HEC mitigation strategies such as patrolling, monitoring and to act as a role model in spreading awareness about elephant protection.
The 7 Team conducts their patrolling and monitoring of elephant movements throughout the day and night.
The 7 Team conducts their night surveillance around the Beluran region, Sandakan and usually patrols between 11 pm until the next day dawn. These volunteers usually follow and track elephants as well as re-directing them away from smallholder palm plots and also larger estates areas. Patrolling is mostly done on foot, as many areas are not accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles. The team also monitors and collects elephant movement data that contributes back towards designing other types of HEC mitigation solutions such as the wildlife corridors.
IOI's Responsible Sourcing Lead Ms Yeo Lee Nya participating in one of the night patrols with the team of volunteers.
IOIEO recognises their hard work and dedication in providing invaluable and much-needed intervention to protect the elephants, along with many of the smallholders’ farms as well as larger third-party oil palm estates.
IOIEO will continue to work with stakeholders to support interventions and activities in our efforts to aid third-party supplying mills and estates, and to safeguard our flora and fauna.