Ever since he was a young boy in Malaysia, Sail Jamaludin had a love and appreciation for the local Sabah environment. As a child, Jumaludin’s father would lead his brother and him through the jungles of North Borneo to explore native plants and wildlife. After years of study and experience working with the local environment, Jamaludin devotes his days to preserving and protecting the local environment as the director of nature reserve at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu.
To celebrate World Ranger Day on July 31, we sat down with Jamaludin to get to know more about him, his background and what drives him to help protect the local environment every day.
Sustainability: For almost 30 years since graduating from university in 1987, you have worked professionally with the environment. How has your past experience working with Sabah's environment shaped your vision for the reserve's involvement to help preserve and protect the local environment?
Jamaludin: My past experience has taught me that my responsibility stems from more than just my job title. It is my social responsibility as a Malaysian citizen to help protect the environment at the Nature Reserve and in Sabah. I am proud of the work the team and I have accomplished, such as implementing awareness programs to encourage visitors and locals to help preserve the environment.
Sustainability: In your opinion, what is the biggest threat to the local environment?
Jamaludin: The biggest threat to the local environment is forest clearing, in which vegetation such as trees and bushes are permanently removed from their natural environment to convert the land for cultivation purposes. This practice affects the environment in a very negative way, especially the animals that are losing their homes in these ecosystems. People can help alleviate these threats by participating in awareness talks and adhering to the existing laws that protect the Sabah environment.
Sustainability: What has been the biggest positive change of the environment throughout your years of working with the Sabah environment?
Jamaludin: The biggest positive change I have been a part of is controlling forest clearing. Also, I have helped villagers initiate eco-villages where they sell handmade goods and teach visitors about the local environment. This helps the villagers maintain sustainable incomes and helps prevent more forest clearing.
Sustainability: From your time working with the Sabah environment, what has personally impacted you the most on an emotional or mental level?
Jamaludin: Managing the Danum Valley Conservation Area has impacted me the most. During my time there, the majority of my role was to ensure that no illegal logging and trapping of animals occurred in the area, which is about 46,000 hectares of preserved forest. While the role took up most of my time, I would say the sacrifice pays off for the continued protection of the local environment.
Sustainability: Since 1996, you’ve been a part of the Shangri-La family when you led a team to set up a 64-acre nature reserve at the resort. Now, what is your favorite part about being the director of nature reserve?
Jamaludin: I love meeting tourists, leading nature activities and teaching visitors about the conservation and rehabilitation work that occurs in the Nature Reserve and in Sabah. It is my responsibility to share the success stories of conservation and rehabilitation programs at the Nature Centre and throughout Sabah so every visitor understands and connects with the programs and the work that is being done.
Shangri-La is proud to have Sail Jamaludin on the team at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu. We look forward to the continued positive impact he will have on the Nature Reserve as well as the environment throughout Borneo.