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Can you help Us?


This was the question that planted the seed for LEAP in late 2004.​


​Cynthia Ong, a Sabahan then working in the U.S., founded the organization as a response to the call for help from groups at the forefront of ecological conservation in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.


Since then, LEAP has worked successfully to increase transparency, build local conservation capacity and develop effective and inclusive conservation partnerships and projects to protect and restore Sabah’s remaining forests and wildlife populations.  LEAP has facilitated partnerships between more than 50 local, regional and international partners and leveraged these relationships into more than 20 new and innovative projects and initiatives. This work has included support for community-based conservation initiatives, restoration of heavily degraded lowland forest, establishment of a biobank to finance long-term restoration of 34,000 hectares of Orang Utan habitat, acquisition of critical parcels of habitat, and successfully opposing through a civil society coalition the construction of Sabah’s first coal-fired power plant. In the process, LEAP has helped foster a new culture of openness, transparency, and collaboration amongst government, industry and civil society.


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   The biggest threat to the survival of many of these species and ecosystems in Borneo is rapid habitat loss and fragmentation due to logging, conversion of forests to oil palm plantations and mining. Intensive forest clearing mainly on Borneo and Sumatra has led to Indonesia being the world’s third largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, and if current rates of deforestation continue, Borneo may retain only about a third of its forest cover by 2020, mainly in the steep and inaccessible interior of the island.

  Borneo also forms the western boundary of the Coral Triangle, the world’s most biodiverse marine area, home to over 600 species of corals and 3,000 species of fish, but under threat from over-fishing, climate change and pollution.

   The cultural diversity of Borneo is also rich and complex, with over 70 sub-ethnic groups traditionally living mainly on the coast or along Borneo’s mighty rivers and in some of the most remote forests. But traditional community lands are under threat, as they are being rapidly fragmented and converted, along with traditional ways of life.

 Straddling the equator in Southeast Asia, Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world and is famed for its remarkable biodiversity. It is home to a wide range of forest types, including coastal mangroves, peat swamps, heath forests, montane and cloud forests, and its magnificent lowland and hill dipterocarp forests contain some of the tallest tropical rainforest trees in the world.

   A large number of endangered or endemic species are found on this great island including Orang Utan, Proboscis Monkey, Sumatran Rhino, Bornean Elephant and Malayan Sun Bear. But environmental challenges are many. Wildlife species face numerous threats, including poaching, the pet trade, killing for traditional medicine, and forest fires.




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