CAMERON HIGHLANDS, 22 September 2019 – The BOH Sungei Palas Tea Garden today opened its gates to 600 enthusiastic runners for a 5km refreshing Fun Run through the beautiful plantation with its captivating scenic views as an inspiration. And for a good cause too – conserving Malaysia’s tropical rainforests while celebrating BOH’s 90th birthday!
The historic BOH 90th Birthday Run 2019 commemorated Malaysia’s leading tea grower’s 90th Anniversary since its inception by J.A. Russell in 1929. The event was also supported by Tourism Pahang.
For many, the BOH Runs are a much anticipated highlight as the plantation trails are rarely open to public. This year marks BOH’s 3rd Run. The inaugural 2014 BOH Highlands Run was held in Sungei Palas Tea Garden while the 2016 BOH Eco Trail was hosted at BOH’s lowland plantation in Bukit Cheeding, Selangor.
For each Run, an NGO receives the registration proceeds to fund a specific environmental programme. The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and Global Environment Centre (GEC) were recipient organisations in 2014 and 2016 respectively. MNS utilised the funds for an environmental school project in Cameron Highlands while GEC conducted peat swamp awareness programmes in the Kuala Langat area.
Proceeds from the BOH 90th Birthday Run 2019, amounting to RM 38,000 were channelled to the Tropical Rainforest Conservation and Research Centre (TRCRC) to grow and develop conservation initiatives in Cameron Highlands to support long-term forest preservation, restoration and biodiversity.
TRCRC was established in 2012 to restore tropical rainforests and address the critical rate of biodiversity loss in Malaysia. It aims to safeguard rare, threatened and endangered plant species and reintroduce them into their native habitats through landscape-level initiatives.
Speaking to runners before the flag off, Caroline Russell, Executive Chairman of BOH Plantations, said, “BOH’s support of TRCRC through the BOH 90th Birthday Fun Run is an extension of our year-long strategic and sustainable collaboration where we are able to play a part in protecting Malaysia’s treasured tropical rainforests.
“Environmental conservation is very close to our heart and entering into this collaboration with TRCRC to support the delicate ecosystem in the Highlands on the occasion of BOH’s 90th Anniversary lends significant meaning for us. Cameron Highlands is home to BOH since 1929 and we are committed to be a responsible resident of this beautiful locale.
“It is wonderful to have so many runners travel up to Cameron Highlands, despite the uncertainty of whether the Run will take place in view of the haze. We are appreciative that you came not only to celebrate BOH’s birthday and enjoy the scenic views at our plantation, but also to unite with us to protect our treasured tropical rainforests. This Run is an important platform to help sensitise Malaysians and express the critical need to protect one of Malaysia’s unique national treasures.”
Echoing Russell’s comments, Dr Dzaeman Dzulkifli, Executive Director of TRCRC added, “We are grateful for the support from BOH and also the Cameron Highlands Forestry District which allows TRCRC to sustain our forest conservation initiatives here in the Highlands. With BOH’s funding, we have begun our seed survey programme in Cameron Highlands forest reserves since July 2019 and target to complete four seed surveys by April 2020. During seed surveys, we search for, locate, and document the locations of critical species categorised as threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™*.
“Seed surveys are an important first step in the process of tropical rainforest conservation. In the larger scheme of things, TRCRC’s forest conservation efforts seek to advance Malaysia’s Central Forest Spine initiative with the aim to reconnect forests across Peninsular Malaysia, help establish routes for wildlife crossings and conserve threatened plant species.”
Russell shared that BOH has also contributed towards forest restoration efforts at TRCRC’s Tropical Living Collection (TRLC) Banun in Perak by sponsoring the planting of 200 trees that are earmarked to help restore key forest corridors within the Central Forest Spine. As of August 2019, TRLC Banun has over 27,000 seedlings and 9000 seeds germinating from over 80 tree species, of which 25 are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™*.
Some eye-opening facts about our Malaysian rainforests shared during the Run reinforces the need to conserve Malaysia’s Tropical Rainforests which are said to be among the oldest in the world:
So, let’s all do our bit to safeguard our tropical rainforests. Let it be a legacy for the generations to come!