Public Events

21 Sep 2016

Pioneering Wildlife Conservation in Malaysia – a historian’s perspective


This talk recorded on Wed 21 September 2016, 6pm at University of Nottingham Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, Level 2, Chulan Tower, Number 3 Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.


Dr. Mathieu Guérin

Dr. Mathieu Guérin is Maître de Conférences (Associate- Professor) at the National Institute of Eastern Languages and Civilisation (INALCO) in Paris, where he teaches History of Southeast Asia. He is a member of the Southeast Asia Centre (CASE), a research team under the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the INALCO and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS). He currently conducts research on the social history of Cambodian rural societies and on wildlife-human conflicts in Southeast Asia. He authored or co-authored two books and a few dozens of papers mainly on the history of Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. He is presently visiting scholar at the University of Nottingham Malaysian Campus (UNMC).

Seminar Summary

Southeast Asia is praised for the importance of its biodiversity. While Flora and Fauna of the region are under strong pressure, mostly because of human activities Malaysia has succeeded in maintaining an important forest cover and sustainable populations of endangered species including large mammals, such as tiger, elephants, or seladang. This achievement has been possible only thanks to a conservation apparatus in the country that was set up during British colonisation and that was developed and improved after Independence.

This talk will present the first findings of a historical research that looks into the early stages of Conservationism in Peninsular Malaysia. It focuses on two major actors of conservation in Malaysia since the 1930s-1940s: the Game Department, now known as Jabatan Perhilitan, and the Malayan Nature Society. It shows how a few British colonists, such as Theodore Hubback, have been very active in preserving Malaysian Forests and Wildlife, and how after Independence, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, the Malaysians have been able to take over the British and developed tools and means of wildlife conservation that are still used today.