Who we are

Rimba, which means ‘jungle’ in Malay, was first established in November 2010 as a non-profit research enterprise (002085549-T). As of 30 December 2016, we are officially an NGO under the Registry of Societies Malaysia (ROS: PPM-017-14-30122016).

Organisational structure

Sheema Abdul Aziz – Co-founder & President
Gopalasamy Reuben Clements – Co-founder & Vice President
Akmal Arif Mohd Razali – Secretary
Sri Venkateswara Rao – Assistant Secretary
Lam Wai Yee – Treasurer
Committee members – Foon Junn Kitt and Liew Thor Seng⁠⁠⁠

Rimba has three Principal Investigators leading their own projects. We also have Research Staff (people who are researchers under a particular project), Field Assistants (people assist with project activities in the field) and Friends of Rimba (researchers, projects or organisations we have worked with in the past).

Principal Investigators

Sheema Abdul Aziz

Sheematree3

Sheema is the co-founder & President of Rimba, and Principal Investigator of Project Pteropus. She has a BA in Archaeology from the University of York, an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent, and a PhD in Ecology from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. She is also a member of the SEABCRU Flying Fox Team. Sheema has worked under several conservation organisations, but most extensively under WWF-Malaysia to help improve conservation and protected area management in Belum-Temengor, Perak. More details of her expertise and research interests can be found here. You can contact her at: sheema AT rimbaresearch DOT org

Gopalasamy Reuben Clements

Reuben is the co-founder and Vice-President of Rimba, and Principal Investigator of Harimau Selamanya. He is also an Associate Professor with Sunway University and a Field Conservation Associate with Woodland Park Zoo and Panthera. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a MSc in Biology, and completed his PhD in Conservation Science at James Cook University.  You can contact him here: reuben AT rimbaresearch DOT org

Liew Thor-Seng


Liew is a committee member, and Principal Investigator of Project Limestone. Liew graduated with a MSc from the Institute of Tropical Biology and Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS). He has just completed his PhD with Leiden University on molecular phylogenetics and morphospace evolution on landsnails in Malaysia. He is now a senior lecturer at the same institute in UMS. Liew expertly uses molecular techniques to answer biological and ecological questions involving both animal and plant groups and is experienced with the use of GIS and statistical techniques as well. Liew can be contacted at: liewthorseng AT gmail DOT com

Research Staff

Lam Wai Yee

waiyee

Wai Yee is the Treasurer of Rimba, and the Technical Advisor to Harimau Selamanya. She is currently pursuing her MSc degree in Conservation Science in Universiti Malaysia Terengganu under a scholarship from Panthera. Wai Yee is especially interested in investigating the behavioural aspects of the ‘landscape of fear’ and its implications for wildlife conservation. She has a BA in Psychology from UCSI University, Malaysia. A Malaysian who grew up in Bandung, Indonesia, she’s had plenty of diverse work experience, flying around as airlines staff, volunteering in Cambodia with children from poverty-stricken communities, and carrying out intensive camera-trapping as a researcher under the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). She’s also quite partial to felids! Wai Yee can be contacted at e AT rimbaresearch DOT org

Akmal Arif Mohd Razali

akmal

Akmal is the Secretary of Rimba, and Forest Patroller for Harimau Selamanya. He graduated from Universiti Sains Malaysia with a BSc in Biology (Zoology) prior to joining Rimba. Driven by his love for cats, Akmal started with Rimba when he first volunteered to help with data cataloging and fieldwork for Project Harimau Selamanya. Now Akmal is helping out with patrolling and surveillance as full-time staff of the project. He is looking forward to possibly doing his Master’s degree on big cats, especially clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), in the future.  Feel free to contact him at: akmal AT rimbaresearch DOT com.

John Mathai

John believes conservation is a way of life – everyone should be a conservationist. An engineer by training, John embraced the philosophies of conservation after years of introspection. He served for almost a decade with WCS-Malaysia as a wildlife ecologist before joining UNIMAS as a research fellow managing his own research group, HOSCAP Borneo, in the mountains of interior Sarawak. He serves on IUCN Red List assessments and helped set up wildlife monitoring projects in Sabah and Vietnam. He holds Master’s degrees in engineering (VTU, India) and conservation biology (JCU, Australia) and is pursuing a doctorate with IZW Germany, modelling small carnivore distributions across Borneo. His research can be found on Google Scholar and Research Gate. John’s passion lies in working towards a human society that sees itself as part of the natural ecosystem and not above it, a society that consciously chooses not to enslave other beings. He currently serves as Chief Operations Officer of Harimau Selamanya. You can contact him at john AT rimbaresearch DOT org.

Nor Arlina Amirah Ahmad Ghani (Ant)

Ant is a Wildlife Monitoring Specialist for Harimau Selamanya. She completed her BSc in Computer Science (Bioinformatics) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and is now awaiting her PhD graduation from the same university. Her main research fields are disease monitoring and surveillance technology, social network analysis, GIS, and application development. Her career passions include data wrangling and coding solutions. She has worked with several local institutions to develop small mammal, amphibian, and orchid species web databases. Prior to joining Rimba, she worked as a research consultant at the National Blood Centre to develop an application for managing blood donations. Ant is a proud cat lover and a fan of long-distance running. She can be contacted here: ant AT rimbaresearch DOT com.

Sai Narayanasamy

Sai is a Wildlife Monitoring Specialist in Harimau Selamanya. She obtained a BSc in Biotechnology from University of Toronto and has had her dreams set upon conservation after a life-changing experience in Ecuador. Before joining Rimba, she worked on the optimization of oil palm waste composting technology and then pursued her MSc in Conservation Science in Imperial College London, where she conducted her research on riparian corridors in the fragmented landscapes of Sabah. Sai feels deeply connected to the natural environment and wants to dedicate her energy and time in minimizing the damage and pain that humans cause to other living beings. She can be contacted here: sai AT rimbaresearch DOT com.

Foon Junn Kitt

Kelvin
Junn Kitt (Kelvin) is a Committee Member of Rimba, and a researcher in Project Limestone. He was a Data Analyst for Harimau Selamanya in 2015. Prior to joining Rimba, he completed his BSc in Marine Science at the University of Western Australia, studying the ecology of tropical terrestrial molluscs. Junn Kitt spent most of his holidays exploring the rainforests, rivers and coasts of his homeland, Malaysia. He has a deep interest in the conservation of tropical biota, especially molluscs. He is currently pursuing his his MSc in molecular phylogenetics of one landsnail genus Alycaeus in Universiti Malaysia Sabah. You can contact him at: jk AT rimbaresearch DOT org

Friends of Rimba

Sri Rao Venkateswara

Sri

Sri Rao is the Assistant Secretary of Rimba and was the former Project Manager of Harimau Selamanya between 2015 and 2016. He is now working for the Tropical Rainforest Conservation Research Centre. Sri completed his BSc in Biomedical Science at Management & Science University, Malaysia. He subsequently obtained his MSc in Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation from Nottingham Trent University, UK. Sri aspires to pursue his PhD and run initiatives that focus on empowering and building capacity of local communities to manage their surrounding natural environment to enhance human-nature connections. He seeks novel scientific approaches and education as mechanisms to achieve this. You can contact him at: sri  DOT ven DOT rao AT gmail DOT org

Lahiru Wijedasa

Lahiru new
Lahiru is currently pursing his PhD at the in the National University of Singapore. He did his undergraduate degree at the National University of Singapore, carrying out a project on conservation of peat swamp forests in Sundaland. He completed a Master’s degree in plant taxonomy at the University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh. He has worked for a number of years managing ex-situ conservation plant material at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. While there he helped develop the 5Ha Healing Garden and also ran the Tree Gang for a number of years. He works on a multi-pronged approach to conservation of peat swamp forests and limestone karsts using remote sensing, plant taxonomy, entomology and above ground biomass estimation. You can find out more details about his work here and you contact him at: lahirux AT gmail DOT com

Mahfuzatul Izyan

Zatul

Zatul (middle, in blue) was a researcher in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor project. She first got involved in Rimba when she volunteered to conduct questionnaire surveys for Project Pteropus. Prior to joining, Zatul completed her BSc in Conservation Biology at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. You can contact her at: zatulmahfuz AT gmail DOT com

Teoh Shu Woan

Shu Woan

Shu Woan was a part-time Research Assistant with Project Harimau Selamanya and Project Pteropus. Prior to joining, Shu Woan completed her BSc in Biology at Universiti Putra Malaysia and studied Irrawaddy dolphins for her MSC at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. During her Msc, Shu Woan had the opportunity to visit indigenous communities. This gave her an insight to the practices of local communities that were akin to conservation. Shu Woan switched from marine to terrestrial research after her MSc. Collaring Sunda clouded leopards was one of her highlights then. Ultimately, Shu Woan would like to learn how to balance research with on-the-ground conservation efforts, as well as how to evaluate conservation efforts.

Laurie Hedges

“Rimba has been such an experience of the frontline of conservation, and the team has been literally overflowing with knowledge and energy. I’ve felt immensely privileged to be able to live and work in such a beautiful place”

Laurie was the former Head of Monitoring with the Harimau Selamanya project. He still helps out with making videos for Rimba’s projects. Laurie started out with Rimba on a 6-month volunteering stint in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project, making the long journey all the way from Oxford, UK. However, he ended up staying longer than he planned, and worked on his very own project: ‘Conservation Status of Big Cats in a Threatened Wildlife Corridor in Malaysia’ – affectionately known as ‘Project Black Cloud’ for short. This work was carried out for his master’s degree at Nottingham University Malaysia Campus (supervised by Ahimsa and Reuben), and was a continuation of Reuben’s work in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor. He has a bachelors degree in Zoology from Cardiff University and is also hooked on surfing, capoeira and photography. You can view a selection of his work at www.lauriehedges.co.uk or contact him at laurie UNDERSCORE hedges AT gmail DOT com.

Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz

Ahimsa is the lead researcher of ‘Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants‘ or MEME. He also co-supervised Sheema’s PhD, and supported Project Pteropus with video traps. Ahimsa received his PhD from the University of Tokyo and is currently an Assistant Professor with the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus in the School of Geography. He is primarily interested in the ecology and conservation of large herbivores such as elephants and their interactions with plants (e.g. food habits, seed dispersal). More details of Ahimsa’s research expertise can be found here. You can contact him at: ahimsa AT camposarceiz DOT com

Giam Xingli

Giam was the lead researcher of ‘Ecology and conservation of blackwater fishes under land-use change‘. He still provides statistical advice to Rimba’s researchers. Giam graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Master’s degree in Biology, and completed his PhD under Princeton University.  His research focused on quantifying the impact of land-use change on freshwater fish communities in peat swamp forests such as those in Sarawak. He has also developed spatially-explicit models of peatland deforestation in collaboration with Center for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP) at the National University of Singapore. He is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. More details of his work can be found here. You can contact him at: giamxingli AT gmail DOT com

David Bickford

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David is an evolutionary ecologist and conservation scientist currently studying the effects of climate change on amphibian distribution and elevation on Mt. Kinabalu.  He has worked on frogs on Gunung Kinabalu, and Challenges in regulating transboundary haze and many other projects in S.E. Asia.  His specialties include reptiles and amphibians, but he also helps train regional conservation scientists to communicate their science more effectively to diverse but targeted audiences and stakeholders. He also works with the IUCN’s Climate Change Specialist Group. David received his PhD from the University of Miami on frogs in Papua New Guinea. Details of David’s research can be found on his Google Scholar and Research Gate pages. You can contact him at: rokrokbickford AT gmail DOT com

Param

Param used to work with WWF-Malaysia, the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project and Project Black Cloud, and is now with MEME. He is native to the land of Malaysia and hails from the village of Semelor, Temengor, Perak. His duties included looking out for animal signs, spotting fruit trees, and leading habitat use surveys, where he records animal signs with a GPS and finds suitable areas to deploy camera-traps. He now serves as a designated driver for MEME. He is the quietest of the group, but probably the best at spotting animal signs.

Puyee

Puyee used to work with WWF-Malaysia, the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project, Project Black Cloud, and MEME. He is native to the land of Malaysia and hails from the village of Semelor, Temengor, Perak. His duties included looking out for animal signs and spotting fruit trees. He had the most infectious laughter of the lot and there was never a dull moment in the field house with him around.

Acik


Acik worked with the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project. He is native to the land of Malaysia and hails from the village of Semelor, Temengor, Perak. His duties included leading habitat use surveys, where he recorded animal signs with a GPS and found suitable areas to deploy camera-traps. Acik was the best driver of the group and spoke the most English.

Mazlan

Lan used to work with WWF-Malaysia and the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project. He is native to the land of Malaysia and hails from the village of Raba, Temengor, Perak. His duties includes looking out for animal signs and spotting fruit trees. He was our best cook (formerly a chef’s apprentice) and the most skillful footballer on the pitch.

Paul Henry


Paul Henry used to work as a research assistant with the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project (Nov 2010-June 2011). He graduated from University Tunku Abdul Rahman with a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Sciences. He also spent his first two semesters studying Marine Biology at University Malaysia Terengganu. He has a strong interest in nature photography and wildlife conservation, especially on sea turtles and tigers. Paul has gained valuable experience by volunteering in numerous community and wildlife conservation projects in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia. His passion was rewarded by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, which awarded him the Volunteer of the Year for 2008. During his time in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project, he developed research experience on wildlife monitoring techniques. Since then he has attended training courses in India, Malaysia and China to equip himself with more skills and knowledge to become a better biologist.  We wish him all the best! You can contact Paul to find out about his experience with Rimba at: paulhenry AT myrimba DOT org

William Yap


As a research assistant, William Yap was in charge of GIS and remote sensing in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project (Nov 2010-Dec 2011). He holds a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Management from Monash University. During his time in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project, he developed research experience on wildlife monitoring techniques, GIS and remote sensing. After leaving Rimba, William joined WWF-Malaysia, where he is now their GIS officer for Peninsular Malaysia. We wish him all the best! You can contact William about his experience with Rimba at: wlyap AT wwf DOT org DOT my

10 thoughts on “Who we are

  1. Pingback: Sticky camera trick allows scientists to identify Malaysia’s black leopards by their hidden spots | the hound

  2. Read your articles published in peer reviewed journals. So impress!!!!

  3. Pingback: Roads to ruin: The most environmentally destructive highways in Southeast Asia |

  4. Keep up the good work ! Soon we will have a Biodiversity and Natural Heritage Centre at Kenyir where we can all sit and have long discourses about our work whilst watching beautiful animal videos god willing.

  5. Hi… Was shown this site by MNS Selangor.
    I am very impressed with the work all of you have done.
    KUDOS!

  6. Pingback: What will it take to save the Sumatran Rhino : Borneo Rhino Alliance

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