Drawing on decades of research and community-led citizen science, LEAP is part of a civil society coalition called Save Kinabatangan that has crafted a long term vision for the Kinabatangan floodplain. The floodplain was at risk of losing its integrity as a safe haven for communities and wildlife with the proposal by the Sabah State Government to build a bridge across the Kinabatangan River at the village of Sukau. The vision document that took about four months to complete, was submitted to the Sabah Chief Minister on 7 April 2017.
From the time the issue was brought to light in 2016, the proposed bridge also received extensive international attention. On 20 April 2017, the Sabah Government announced the cancellation of the project via the Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Sam Mannan at a Royal Society event in London.
Apart from LEAP, Save Kinabatangan is made up of Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Danau Girang Field Centre, HUTAN, Kinabatangan – Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association, Living Landscape Alliance, Sabah Environmental Protection Association, Sabah Environmental Trust, WWF-Malaysia Sabah office and conservationist Dr John Payne.
Save Kinabatangan however is aware that there are other pressing issues that need to be addressed at the Kinabatangan floodplain for it to continue providing a safe space for communities and wildlife. The cancellation of the bridge (and proposed roads that would have gone with it) marks the start of a new phase of work for the Kinabatangan. Save Kinabatangan continues to engage with the Sabah Government to elaborate on the vision document, as the current scenario in the Lower Kinabatangan is not viable for biodiversity conservation even with the scrapping of the bridge. The vision document sets out a more sustainable and wildlife friendly future for this critical area.