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Datuk Dr John Payne 

Executive Director 

Bringing Back Our Rare Animals (BORA)

John Payne, also known as Junaidi Payne, is a biologist and permanent resident of Sabah. His PhD degree from Cambridge University was awarded for mammal ecology research done in Krau Wildlife Reserve in Peninsular Malaysia in the mid-1970s. He led WWF work in Sabah from 1982 to 1998, spending much of the early years seeking Hairy (Sumatran) rhinos, and advocating for captive breeding as well as establishment of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. As the various institutions concerned with this species fragmented globally from 1986 onwards, he moved to other subjects. He found that most orangutans lived in lowlands scheduled for conversion to plantations, giving rise in 1989 to the imperative for a new Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kinabatangan region, using the potential for nature tourism as economic justification. In 1990-92, he compiled the 577-page Sabah Conservation Strategy, which made many recommendations on land, water, forest and biodiversity policy. Following a stint living in South Kalimantan, 1999-2002, he returned to Sabah. From 2008, he managed a non-governmental organization, Borneo Rhino Alliance. The aim was to create an international metapopulation of the Hairy rhino, employing the latest advances in reproductive technology to allow every remaining rhino to contribute its genes to species recovery. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of Kinabalu by the Governor of Sabah in 2010. After the last two Hairy rhinos in Malaysia died in 2019, he led the re-branding of the Alliance as ‘bringing back our rare animals’, an avenue to address lessons learned from the extinction of the rhino in Malaysia, notably on the application of novel means for population recovery of large rare mammal species in Malaysia.



Contact Dr Payne to learn more about:

Why current approaches to preventing large animal extinctions will not work

What interventions might be successful to prevent the extinction of Malaysian large mammal species

Targeted restoration of habitat to support endangered wildlife populations



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