History | WWF Malaysia


WWF-Malaysia History - logo rel=
WWF-Malaysia History - logo
© WWF-Malaysia

How We Came About

WWF-Malaysia has been working in Malaysia for over 3 decades. We’ve come a long way since those early days in 1972 with only 2 employees, a tiny office and sheer determination. Today, we have grown to be one of the largest and most influential nature conservation organisations in the country. Our growth over the past 3.5 decades has been punctuated by events that have brought us from strength to strength.


  • HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh handed over the official WWF Charter to Encik Khir Johari (the late Tan Sri), WWF-Malaysia’s newly installed President.
  • WWF conducted its first ever project by assisting the National Parks Board (now Sabah Parks) with a survey of Pulau Gaya, off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. It is now part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park established in 1974.


  • The Bata-sponsored WWF mobile education unit begins visiting school children throughout Peninsular Malaysia and sharing the wonders of our natural world with them.


  • The World Conservation Strategy is launched and the first State Conservation Strategy begins in Negeri Sembilan.


  • WWF-Malaysia joined forces with the Sarawak Forest Department to survey the proposed Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary leading to its gazettement in 1983.


  • Our name changed from the World Wildlife Fund to the World Wide Fund for Nature to reflect the broadening of our work from species and habitats to the way people use natural resources of all kinds.


  • WWF-Malaysia and the Sabah Foundation organised a scientific expedition to survey the unexplored Maliau Basin in Sabah.


  • Prince Philip, President of WWF International, visits the Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah. His visit focused the spotlight on one of the most significant conservation area for large forest animals in Southeast Asia.


  • Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Azlan Shah becomes our Patron.


  • The National Conservation Strategy is completed.


  • The Highland Forests Campaign is launched to create greater awareness of Malaysia’s natural habitats and why they are important.


  • The National Ecotourism Plan is completed.


  • The Fraser’s Hill Nature Education Centre (FHNEC) was set up to raise awareness on the need to protect our highlands.


  • ‘Haze Alert’ on WWF-Malaysia’s website started during the worst of the El Nino fires.


  • Perlis State Park is declared by the Menteri Besar of Perlis YAB Dato’ Seri Shahidan Kassim based on work by WWF-Malaysia for the area.


  • The Partners for Wetlands programme is launched to support conservation initiatives in the Lower Kinabatangan.
  • Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Osu Haji Sukam presented Malaysia’s first Gift to the Earth by declaring the gazettement of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Forests for Water, Water for Life programme is launched to change the way Malaysians think about, use and manage our freshwater by understanding the forest-water link.


  • The Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion (SSME), in collaboration with WWF Philippines & WWF Indonesia, is launched to conserve the Coral Triangle, one of the richest centres of marine biodiversity in the world.
  • The Asean Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS) is established to carry out a plan of action to enhance the unique species’ conservation initiatives.


  • Tan Sri Razali Ismail becomes WWF-Malaysia’s new President.
  • MYCAT, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, comprising the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Malaysian Nature Society, Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF-Malaysia is formed with the common goal of conserving tigers.


  • Ma’ Daerah is gazetted as a Turtle Sanctuary by the Terengganu government. WWF-Malaysia has been working there since 1999.
  • With WWF-Malaysia’s assistance, the Fraser’s Hill Environmentally Sustainable Heritage (FRESH) - a local community group - is formed to conserve the hill’s natural environment.


  • The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is finally gazetted after WWF-Malaysia’s work there began in the late 1980s.
  • The Tun Sakaran Marine Park is finally gazetted after 15 years of hard work and lobbying efforts by the Sabah Parks, the Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Malaysia.
  • A new species of Tarantula spider, the Coremiocnemis sp, was discovered in Fraser’s Hill by Stephen Hogg, WWF-Malaysia’s Head of AV Library.


  • The Heart of Borneo programme is launched.
  • The Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary (KKCBS) - which WWF-Malaysia played a significant role in establishing - is now managed by independent NGO, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society.
  • WWF-Malaysia managed to record a three-second video clip of the elusive Malayan tiger, believed to be the first-ever footage of the endangered animal in the wild.
  • The Heart of Borneo is formally declared as a three country collaborative programme by the ministers responsible for forestry of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • The Royal Belum State was gazetted by the Perak State Government as a result of long-term efforts by the Perak State Government and Malaysian NGOs.
  • WWF-Malaysia’s Kinabatangan Corridor of Life Programme, the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Programme as well as the WWF Heart of Borneo Network Initiative were mentioned as the three main conservation projects to be supported and developed by the Sabah State Cabinet by 2025.
  • A non-detrimental finding study conducted by the Department of Fisheries Sabah (DoFS), WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC on the wild populations of the Humphead Wrasse led DoFS to impose a total banin the export of this fish from 1st January 2010.
  • Footage of the elusive and extremely rare Sumatran rhino, suspected to be pregnant was obtained in the Danum Valley by WWF-Malaysia’s Rhino Patroling Unit.
  • The First Malaysian sustainable seafood guide was presented during the launch of the Save our Seafood campaign in conjuction with World Oceans Day.
  • 1,150 ha in North Ulu Segama Forest Reserve, Sabah have been reforested with support from corporates, individuals and the WWF Network. Orangutan nests were found in the reforested area indicating that they are now using restored forest locations.
  • The National Eco-Schoold Committee, comprising government agencies, universities and NGOs throughout Malaysia was establised. The website www.eco-schools.wwf.org.my was successfully launched to facilitate active discussions about EE among schools.
Today, we continue to grow along with the demands of various projects in and around Malaysia. Our 40 years of conservation is really a case of working with friends – governments, corporations, organisations and individuals who have joined hands towards our mutual goal of nature conservation.