BUNGEE JUMP: Student raises money for 'Heart of Borneo' project
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KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIANS are a generous lot. We have all at some point or another donated to a good cause. But how many of us are willing to bungee jump for charity?
On Saturday, one brave Malaysian undergraduate student studying at Durham University in the United Kingdom took that leap.
Iskandar Kavanagh, 21, jumped from a height of more than 53 metres in a bid to raise funds for the Sungai Ingei Faunal Biodiversity Survey (SIFBS) expedition under the "Heart of Borneo" project.
"I've done bungee jumping before, but the rush you get when you jump into nothingness never gets old. It was an amazing experience," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
The bungee jump, organised by the Durham University Charities Kommittee (DUCK), was a fundraising event open to all of the university's students who wished to donate to charity in an unconventional way.
Iskandar had asked the organising committee for special permission to raise money for the SIFBS as it "held a special place in his heart".
The jump also held a special significance as it took place on his 21st birthday.
"When I found out that they will be holding the jump on my birthday this year, I thought, 'why not?'
"Then I asked myself which cause I would most want to raise money for and the SIFBS came to mind, as I had volunteered for the expedition last year in March.
"It was one of my most rewarding experiences and I wanted to give something back."
Through his online fundraising page, Iskandar has so far raised STG690.53 (about RM3,400), surpassing his initial target of STG550.
Iskandar is an avid sportsman and is active in sports such as football, kayaking and wakeboarding.
His love for Mother Nature was what spurred him to take part in the expedition that had him trekking into the heart of the Borneo rainforest.
Iskandar, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography, hoped to encourage others to do their part for the environment.
"Environmental conservation is still something that is generally overlooked in Malaysia, but I do think more Malaysians are waking up to the importance of protecting and conserving the environment. So I hope we can continue to improve."
The "Heart of Borneo" project is an initiative under the World Wildlife Fund in collaboration with three countries -- Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia -- to conserve 220,000 sq km of rainforest, which is home to several endangered animal species such as the orangutan, pygmy elephant, clouded leopard and Sumatran rhino.
Over the past 15 years, more than three new species have on average been discovered each month.
However, this treasure trove of flora and fauna is at risk due to commercial development and illegal wildlife trade.