We, at Downbelow Marine & Wildlife, believe in Education, Conservation & Ecotourism. About travelling responsibly, conserving the environment and improve the daily lives of the local community.
Our commitment to conservation and environmental health is the mission of our diving and travel business operations.
Our own environmentally responsible policies meant we were the first organisation in Malaysia to be awarded the GREEN STAR AWARD for responsible practices. For example we use only filtered water and not bottled water to reduce the usage of plastic items. We have a no – styrofoam & no-plastig bag HQ, we are as paperless as possible, we conserve water & electricity and the list goes on …
In addition to our in-house policies we have a number of programs for our clients to get involved with which are personally rewarding and benefit the local & global community. Truly, there are many conservation issues converging on our planet at once, but we’re concentrating on conservation & outreach programs where we are uniquely positioned to directly and positively affect real, long-term change and education.
For many years, local and international schools and universities participate in programs that we design to cater to their educational needs.
The University of South Wales, University of Cardiff, Kinabalu International School and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) are amongst a few of the educational institutes to experience the practical contribution to conservation at our PADI 5 STAR IDC Dive Centre facilities.
Our programs can be suited to specific needs, from University students fulfilling scientific degree requirements in field study, to participating in educational clean-up events to learn more about our natural environment for a day.
Please peruse our photo albums for previous international schools & universities.
Conservation projects, such as beach and underwater clean-up events, aid to raise awareness in Kota Kinabalu about the health of the natural environment in our local area.
For groups exploring Sabah on our Expedition Borneo program, an educational session at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre is conducted for a unique learning experience. One of our experienced PADI Instructors delivers a presentation of the PADI AWARE Coral Reef Conservation, followed by a beach clean-up organized by our island staff team for participants to appreciate the value of contributing to the ocean conservation.
Illegal fishing nets, colloquially termed ‘ghost nets’ because it continually fishes even after discarded, are a threat we face in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park where we are based. As soon as one is reported, a team of our PADI professionals is assembled to remove it from the reef to stop further damage to the delicate coral reef. After more than 120 net removal dives, which are fully sponsored with staff and logistics by us, our team are able to safely & efficiently remove them form the ocean and save lives.
Coral for Life is a program created by Downbelow to inspire the younger generation of our local area to understand the benefits of preserving coral. Knowledge is needed to address these environmental issues, and the program is a unique education for participants to witness the natural beauty that can be found in Sabah and how to preserve it.
During the program participants learn about the role coral plays within the environment through a powerpoint presentation. Participants are then taken into the ocean to see coral in their natural environment while snorkelling or scuba diving. There is the option to elaborate and show differences between healthy coral & damaged coral in its natural environment and collect broken coral for re-planting – giving back life ! Participants learn how to re-plant broken coral that would otherwise perish. The treated corals are then placed in their new homes by the Downbelow team on our artificial house reef located in the bay just in front of the dive centre.
So the message is clear – lets help coral live in the oceans as we shout “Coral for Life”!
At any opportunity that assistance can be leant to animal welfare, our Downbelow operations will get involved.
The range of animal welfare varies from such instances as freeing any entangled marine life before removing a ‘ghost net’ from the reef. Supporting local TNR (Trap Neuter Release) programs, re-homing stray & injured cats, or assisting the rescue efforts of domestic animals from the Kota Kinabalu SPCA shelter during tropical flash floods.
We are committed too the Project AWARE Foundation. A movement focused on ocean conservation and funded by the support of the growing number of recreational divers committed to protecting the marine environment.
PADI is an important partner of Project AWARE’s, not only for raising awareness but also for raising funds through the PADI certification card processing system.
Instructors of our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre teach only PADI courses and programs, and as every certification includes a donation paid by Downbelow Marine & Wildlife to Project AWARE this means that upon receiving an upgraded Project AWARE branded certification card, newly qualified student divers are inspired to become ambassadors of our ocean environment too.
Our dive operations staunch dedication to marine conservation is recognised by the Project AWARE organisation through various awards & certificates.
Furthermore, in February 2012 Downbelow were the first dive centre in Malaysia to earn the PADI Green Star Award™.
Again, the heavyweights of ocean protection PADI and Project AWARE collaborate to introduce the PADI Green Star Award™, which identifies the corporate responsibility of our business to reduce our ecological footprint, whilst encouraging travellers to choose ‘green’ operations.
We also offer a number of one day courses to develop peoples interest and knowledge of conservation & our environment. The AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Speciality Course aims to inform the diver, non-diver and marine enthusiast about the coral reefs of the world, their importance and what threatens them. The AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Course will inform and ignite a passionate for defending sharks by inspiring participants to take action to protect them. These programs are combined within group expeditions and also offered to individuals.
Please peruse our photo albums for previous Ghost Net removals and conservation programs
Get in touch to get involved !