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The Conservation division within MNS sees to the effective management of existing protected areas as well as to establish new protected areas.

Some of the main objectives within Conservation in MNS are:

  • To secure an integrated and comprehensive Protected Area system in Malaysia.
  • Build a knowledge base of key habitats and species with the aim to disseminate this information to decision makers.
  • To identify threats to the survival of habitats and species in the wild.

The MNS Conservation initiatives are also guided by key documents such as the Important Bird Area (IBA) data which has been compiled since 1997 with the assistance of the MNS Bird Conservation Council and Birdlife International. Conservation is also guided by the MNS Blueprint for Conservation (established in1974)which calls for the conservation of notable areas such as national parks, reserves, islands, national monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, marine reserves and research sites in Peninsular Malaysia.

The focal areas in which our Conservation initiatives work are:

  1. Habitats and Sites
  2. Species
  3. People
  4. Policy


Habitats / Sites

In the last 15 years, Malaysia has lost around 60,000 species of life forms a year as a result of natural areas being cleared to make way for development, logging, plantations, housing and various other human exploits.  

As a result of this, habitat protection has become one of MNS’ major concerns and we have produced several key conservation documents which we are guided by. We also adhere to national policies such as the National Physical Plan and the National Policy on Biological Diversity.

  • Forests
  • Wetlands
  • Islands


Malaysia is the twelfth riches mega-centre for biodiversity in the world and we have over 185,000 types of animal species and 15,000 of flowering plants (EPU,1993) but unfortunately, our biodiversity is under threat and we are listed under the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red Data list. Malaysia tops the list under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. To address this, we have embarked on a national initiative that lists flora and fauna species according to IUCN guidelines.

Our work on species protection is explicitly linked with our work in habitat conservation. For example, our hornbill project ultimately seeks the protection of the Belum-Temengor area as does our work with MYCAT on tigers. Species protection is the key to advocating the conservation of these habitats as it will allow for flora and fauna to thrive in their natural environment.

MNS’ efforts in species protection are focused on sites where our successes can easily translate into meaningful changes to the Malaysian mindset, attitude and commitment toward using our natural resources wisely. Our signature projects range from work with hornbills to the synchronous fireflies. 


Our local communities work is spread across the indigenous, rural and urban communities. All our initiatives with local communities are geared towards empowering them in ensuring better governance of important habitats or species. For example, our work with the indigenous communities of Semai in Gopeng was with the aim of stopping them from harvesting the buds of the Rafflesia flowers and selling the Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterflies. Our work provided them with an alternative income to sustain their livelihoods.


Our policy and advocacy work has been the foundation of the Society’s successes thus far. This is done in many ways, be it from the support and commitment of our members across the country with state level advocacy, or with the work of the Secretariat with Federal and State agencies. Our work covers a wide range of issues, from the Kuala Muda coast in Penang, to national issues in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. The success MNS received in areas such as Endau-Rompin and Taman Negara are just some examples of where policy and advocacy has succeeded in ensuring effective conservation. MNS also works closely with the Federal and State agencies on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


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