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Community Outreach Projects

/Community Outreach Projects
Community Outreach Projects 2018-02-03T00:56:01+00:00

Working with local communities

At Downbelow Marine & Wildlife, we believe in Opportunity, Education, Conservation & Ecotourism. About travelling responsibly, conserving the environment and improving the daily lives of animals and fellow humans in the community. Our commitment to conservation and environmental health is the mission of our scuba diving and travel business operations. Our commitment to community projects is our passion.

Throughout the year we conduct expeditions for school, university & gap year groups to join these rewarding and educational programs.

Animal Welfare

At any opportunity that assistance can be leant to animal welfare, our Downbelow team will get involved.

The range of animal welfare varies from such instances as freeing entangled marine life before removing a ‘ghost net’ from the reef. Supporting local TNR (Trap Neuter Release) programs, re-homing stray & injured cats, or assisting the rescue efforts of domestic animals.

In 2016 we built a cat shelter for the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) here in Sabah. To date the shelter is home to 80 cats & kittens. Our company acts as an active sponsor for the shelter providing a full time member of staff, medication & supplies. Director Joanne Swann is actively involved in the daily welfare of the animals & the adoption program. She visits every week without fail.

You can read more about this project that is so close to our hearts here on our Facebook page which features regular updates.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

In 1963 orang-utans became officially protected in Sabah under the Fauna Conservation Ordinance, which, among other things, prohibits hunting, trading or keeping them as pets. Young orang-utans being kept locally as pets, then needed rescuing and the idea grew of rehabilitating these animals to fend for themselves so that they might re-adapt to life in the wild.

In 1964 43km² of jungle rainforest was set aside and the Sepilok Rehabilitation centre was established to rehabilitate orang-utans for reintegration into the wild. Today around 80 orang-utan are living free in the reserve and there are about 25 juveniles and babies living in the nurseries at the center’s buildings.

We have visited and been supporters of the centre for a number of years during which time we have heard conflicting opinions from people that have visited; some likening it to a circus or zoo, saying that it is too touristy. We couldn’t disagree more. If you’re going there expecting to see wild orang utan swinging from trees, forget it. Those that have been living in the reserve for a long time don’t come to the platform for feeding, they are not seen by the tourists, they have been rehabilitated.

What you see are those that are in the last stage of rehabilitation. They have been released but are either a little lazy or still a bit timid to find their own food, so they return to the platform for an easy snack. The food supplied by the centre is purposefully designed to be monotonous and boring so as to encourage the apes to start to forage for themselves. Most animals eventually achieve total independence and become integrated into Sepilok’s wild orang utan population. To avoid overcrowding the forest, some are relocated to Tabin Wildlife Reserve, an area of virgin rainforest twice the size of Singapore.

For our school, university and gap year groups we organise service trips to Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, where participants get to help out with some daily chores and general maintenance.

Tree Planting in the Kinabatangan River

Planting trees is a win-win-win. They help clean the air, reduce wastewater run-off, provide shade, beautify environments and provide habitats for wild animals. Our tree planting project also educates locals communities and provides a small income to their local school.

Sadly rainforests of the Lower Kinabatangan in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo have undergone mass destruction from the expansion of agriculture, namely oil palm production. In more recent years thanks to a moratorium on logging, increased revenue from tourism plus private & NGO purchasing of land vital areas of forest are now under protection to create wildlife corridors and to connect fragmented patches of land, ensuring that a continuous, protected habitat exists for wildlife and local communities.

These areas need trees. So we have teamed up with our partner lodge in the local village of Bilit along the Kinabatangan River to work with their village school to create a nursery for tree planting.

Our school, university and gap year volunteers work with the community to fund, build and care for the nursery. By planting wild fruiting trees with local school children involved in our environmental education programs we teach them the importance of protecting and working with nature.

The local school then sell the seedlings to local tourist lodges for their tree planting activities which provides a small income for the school to re-invest into community & school projects.

We Are Borneo Specialists – Let Us Arrange Others Parts of Your Visit To Sabah !

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    We offer a range of climbing packages to the summit of Mount Kinabalu at 4,093m ASL. Based within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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  • PADI Diving Courses

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Take a Look at Other Areas of Our Organisation

Downbelow
Adventure Lodge

Our newly established accommodation based in KK Times Square offers twin or family rooms with private bathrooms or a unique style of dormitory room with communal bathrooms. The expedition style lodge is ideal for those people wishing to combine basic clean and secure comfort at an affordable price.

LEARN MORE

Downbelow
Adventure Lodge

Our newly established accommodation based in KK Times Square offers twin or family rooms with private bathrooms or a unique style of dormitory room with communal bathrooms. The expedition style lodge is ideal for those people wishing to combine basic clean and secure comfort at an affordable price.

LEARN MORE

Downbelow
Travel & Tours Centre

We offer tailor-made tours, trips and holidays to suit your budget and wish-list. Designed for the independent traveller, family or group wishing to organize time and cost effective trips within Sabah, Borneo. Our high level of repeat business and pride in what we do testify to our success.

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Downbelow
Dive Shop

Based at our HQ in KK Times Square, we are the largest Dive Shop in Sabah. Offering known brands such as SUUNTO, Dive Rite, MARES, BARE, Rip Curl, GoPRO Hero, Igloo and much more.

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Downbelow
Dive Shop

Based at our HQ in KK Times Square, we are the largest Dive Shop in Sabah. Offering known brands such as SUUNTO, Dive Rite, MARES, BARE, Rip Curl, GoPRO Hero, Igloo and much more.

LEARN MORE

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What Makes Downbelow Different ?

  • Full Service Island Based PADI 5 STAR IDC Centre – Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
  • Own and Operate Our Adventure Lodge Accommodation – KK Times Square
  • Fully Comprehensive Quality Control Standards and Procedures
  • Resident Platinum PADI Course Director – In House and Full Time
  • Gained International Awards for Excellence, Education and Experiences
  • Awarded the PADI Green Star Award for Environmental Practices to Reduce our Environmental Footprint
  • Hassle FREE – airport to airport service all under one company.
  • Dedicated experienced travel consultant for planning your trip, during your trip and post trip support.

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