In early 2006, Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd pledged a contribution of RM5 million to WWF-Malaysia under a 5-year project called “Rhino Rescue”. This fund will enable WWF-Malaysia to work closely with its partners to further strengthen the Sumatran rhino conservation efforts in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.
The funds are channelled to support patrolling and surveying expenses, publishing reports and papers, consultancies for socio-economic and trade related surveys, as well as developing habitat management plans.
The Rhino Rescue project is a perfect example of Honda’s challenging spirit to save the highly endangered Sumatran rhino estimated to be less than 300 left in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. The project also aims to raise awareness and educate the public on environmental and conservation issues through various activities
a) Rhino Rescue School Programme
Through this programme, school children throughout Malaysia stand to benefit from interactive sessions and talks on the environment and the Sumatran rhino. Topics covered include the biological diversity of our Malaysian forest; human activities' impacts on our forest and the Sumatran rhino; threats to the Sumatran rhino’s survival and roles that children can play to help conserve the environment. The school-to-school talks started in Klang Valley February 2008 and have since been to 20 schools, speaking to more than 4,000 students.
b) The Sumatran Rhino Discovery Roadshows
The roadshows were held in collaboration with two shopping malls - Ikano Power Centre (28 May – 1 June 2008) and Sunway Pyramid (6–8 June 2008) in conjunction with World Environment Day. The objective of the roadshows is to create greater awareness and understanding on the need to care for the environment and the plight of Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia. Various fun-filled activities were organised for kids to learn more about the Sumatran rhino, as well as to express their creativity in the Sand Art Play Time and colouring sessions with famous Japanese cartoonist, Ms. Tamami Akiba. Local celebrity, Zainal Abidin also made a special guest appearance.
c) The “Environment and I” essay and photo contest
The contest was held throughout the month of April 2008 and was opened to all primary school students in Malaysia. Participating students were required to write an essay of between 400-800 words, in Malay or English. Each essay had to be accompanied by a photograph and caption showing an activity undertaken by the participant and their family members or classmates to help conserve the environment. The contest received overwhelming response from students as well as schools. In total, Honda Malaysia received close to 620 entries from all over Malaysia.