News & Updates

Action plan to protect Sabah’s 3 iconic animals

Sabah launched, Monday, three five-year State Species Action Plans for the orang-utan, elephant and rhinoceros, respectively, that will provide a platform for better protection of the three flagship species.

The launching was officiated by Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok at the opening of two-day Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium (SWCC), jointly organised by Sabah Wildlife Department and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) together with the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT), Danau Girang Field and HUTAN – Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme, at the Le Meridien, here.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun and Wildlife Director Dr Laurentius Ambu, among others, were present.

Urging the plantation industry to collaborate with the State Government in implementing these Species Action Plans, Dompok was certain that with the cooperation from all parties concerned the oil palm industry can co-exist in a sustainable manner with the environment.

The plans are part of the nation’s continued commitment towards conservation and continuation of its unique flora and fauna, he said.

“Being one of the world’s mega centres of biodiversity, Malaysia has constantly become the focus of the international community and we have led the way in showcasing our effort in wildlife conservation and protection,” said Dompok.

Malaysia pledged to maintain 50 per cent of the country’s landmass under forest cover at the Rio Convention in 1992 and is still honouring this pledge 20 years on.

“Our unique wildlife and biodiversity are our natural heritage, and we owe it to ourselves not to deny our future generations these privileges and environmental treasures that we now enjoy. This demonstrates Malaysia’s commitments on the approach towards sustainable development,” he said.

Dompok said the SWCC 2012 which has aptly adopted the theme “Harmonising Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation with National Development” is the next step forward to better address and manage wildlife conservation issues through a multi-stakeholder approach.

“This is important taking into account that any recommendations should be holistic in nature and aimed at balancing the needs of the people, economy and nature, which forms the basic tenets of sustainability,” he said.

Dompok also spoke of the country’s palm oil industry’s contribution to conservation, saying the industry itself has become more involved in this effort, giving a new synergy to the term ‘corporate social responsibility’.

He said the Government in collaboration with the palm oil industry had launched the Malaysia Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF) in 2006, with the objective of spearheading wildlife and environment conservation efforts in Malaysia.

The MPOWCF was launched with an initial funding of RM20million of which RM10million is a grant from the Government and the balance of RM10million is provided by the palm oil industry.

The fund is administered by the MPOC, which also has the overall responsibility to manage the various conservation projects funded through MPOWCF.

Since its inception, he said MPOWCF has initiated a number of wildlife and biodiversity conservation projects, adding this has contributed to among others the establishment of the country’s first Wildlife Rescue Centre in collaboration with the Wildlife Department.

The other projects are the Jungle Patrol Unit in Tangkulap-Pinangah Forest Reserve, inventory of Sabah’s Orang-utan population, the Orang-utan Infant Care Unit in Bukit Merah and the satellite tracking and conservation of Bornean Banteng in Sabah.

These initiatives reflected the commitment by the Malaysian palm oil industry to environment conservation and wildlife in the country, he said.

In addition, the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary (BEWS) which is in the planning stage is aimed at reducing potential human-elephant conflicts and create a controlled public access sanctuary to better understand and care for these animals.

Dompok also applauded the strong presence of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the colloquium, both from the local and international fraternity.

“Today, the environment favours a scenario where NGOs can work together with the government and industry, to improve the quality and standard of operations and sustainability,” he said, hoping that NGOs would provide alternative perspectives to policies and actions, and give meaningful recommendation on how the government can improve the practices.

This is the constructive approach that we can all look forward to in achieving sustainable growth and environmental conservation, he said, inviting local and international NGOs to assume an active role with the palm oil industry in achieving common sustainable goals.

“I am optimistic that Malaysia can work together with the various NGOs in wildlife conservation and environmental protection,” he said.

About 250 local and international delegates from a multitude of backgrounds representing government agencies, NGOs, universities, foundation, zoos as well as corporate bodies primarily in the palm oil industry and tourism are taking part in the SWCC 2012.

Both Ministers also witnessed the signing and exchanging of four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the Wildlife Department and MPOC, WWF-Malaysia, The Rhino and Forest Fund and SOS Elefanti, as well as another MoU between the BCT and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.

Source: Daily Express

Keeping Malaysia green and clean

The 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean Campaign or 1MG1MC, was launched on July 18, 2010 by Minister of Tourism, Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen. A brilliant and innovative tourism campaign, the 1MG1MC aims to instil a cleanliness mindset among Malaysians, particularly at tourist spots.

 

It is also to create an awareness of the importance of keeping tourist spots clean and to inculcate in the mind of Malaysians the importance of preserving the beauty and cleanliness of the country.

 

Through campaigns such as 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean, the Ministry of Tourism believes it will help the ministry to answer the call by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

 

The government aims to improve the tourism industry which would provide 2.7 million jobs in the industry by 2015.

 

In ensuring the success of the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has been working closely with four other ministries – Ministry of housing and Local Government, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of education and Ministry of Nature Resources and environment.

 

Apart from collaborating with the ministries, the campaign has also involved several non-governmental organisations, the private sector, Kelab Pelacongan Pelajar and Kuala Lumpur City hall to participate in some of the campaign programmes.

 

To enhance the success of the campaign, the Ministry of Tourism has also launched the www. 1malaysiagreenandclean. com.my website which is an integral part of the campaign. It highlights and addresses issues pertaining to clean or dirty tourist spots.

 

The website enables the public and tourists to upload pictures of any spots, especially tourist areas which are clean or those that need upkeeping.

 

Among the activities and programmes under the 1Malaysia Green and 1Malaysia Clean campaign are:

 

* Plan A Tree project at homestays registered with the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia. This project is to encourage foreign tourists to plant a tree at the homestay before leaving for their country.

 

* “Gotong-royong” activities at tourist spots. l Collaborating with food and drinks associations and hawkers to implement a “Cleanest hawker Stall” competition.

 

* Collaborating with taxi associations and organising a “Cleanest Taxi” contest and ensuring knowledgeable and respectable drivers.

 

* Organising a “Cleanest Mall” competition. l Collaboration with Giant hypermarket to place the 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean campaign logo on Giant shopping bags.

 

* A special TV programme for children that will feature “Mr Bin” to emphasise to children the importance of keeping the environment clean.

 

* Collaborating with print and electronic media to publicise the “1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean” campaign.

 

* Collaborating with highway companies to distribute 1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean stickers at selected toll plazas and R&R (rest and relax) areas to increase awareness of the campaign.

 

* Organising a “Spot the ‘1Malaysia Green, 1Malaysia Clean’ car stickers” competition.

 

Source: The Star

Sabah losing flagship wildlife species

Sabah is losing her flagship species, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun. According to him, there are now less than 11,000 orangutans, 6,000 proboscis monkeys, 2,000 elephants, 500 bantengs and 40 rhinos in Sabah.

On the other hand, the human population in the State is increasing.

“We are 3.2 million today in Sabah. In 2025, it is predicted that we will be 4.2 million, an increase of 30 percent. I don’t want to think that at the same time we will have a decrease of 30 percent in our wild populations: 7,700 orangutans, 4,200 proboscis monkeys, 1,400 elephants, 350 bantengs and 28 rhinos,” he said at the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium 2012 yesterday.

Masidi also expressed his disgust over the killing of 5,000 kilograms of pangolins that were smuggled out of Sabah last month.

He added that he had instructed his permanent secretary to conduct an immediate probe on the issue and said that poaching was a big problem.

“We need to educate the people and address the corruption within the system. It is time for us to act and not just talk,” he said.

Meanwhile, the event also saw the signing of four memorandums of understanding between the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), WWF-Malaysia, The Rhino and Forest Fund and SOS Elefanti, yesterday.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd which was represented by Area General Operation Manager Mr Ngu Ngiong Hieng.

Source: Borneo Post

800ha Orang Utan habitat to be restored

The Sabah Forestry Department recently awarded reforestation contracts to four contractors to restore degraded forest areas in North Ulu Segama, within the Ulu Segama-Malua Forest Reserve in Lahad Datu. According to a statement here Saturday, 800 hectares would be replanted with indigenous tree species and wild fruit trees in the next 12 months to ensure the survival of orang-utans.

The North Ulu Segama area was discovered in 2007 to have a large population of orang-utans.

It is surrounded by oil palm trees and located in a poor secondary logged forest environment, with limited sources of food and shelter.

The department has since acquired funding from the World Wildlife Fund Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) and its international network to carry out reforestation at the North Ulu Segama forest areas.

According to WWF-Malaysia forest restoration manager Joseph Gasis, who is in charge of forest restoration work at North Ulu Segama, without sufficient food source and suitable trees as home, orang-utans would have to travel long distances in search of food.

Source: Daily Express

Turtles are safe because islands gazetted

Sabahans can consider themselves lucky for being able to witness turtles landing on their shores because of the Government’s effort to gazette some of its islands, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister, Datuk Elron Alfred Angin.

He said following the coming into force of the 1984 Parks Enactment, the numbers have shown a slight increase despite a significant drop of turtle sighting worldwide.

“Turtle hatching can be seen almost every night on our islands,” he said during the launching of the Sabah Parks Turtle Conservation campaign here Saturday. The campaign will end on Dec. 15. “During the peak season the number of turtles landing on our shores can be 30-50,” he added.

Under the enactment, turtles can find sanctuary at the Turtle Islands, Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Pulau Tiga Park and Pulau Sipadan.

The others are the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Areas (SIMCA), which include Langkayan in Sandakan.

“To further better managed turtle conservation the construction of Sabah’s first hatchery were completed in 1966 at Pulau Selingan,” said Elron.

In his speech, Elron said during the observation conducted in 1979 until 2010 a total of 218, 305 turtle nests were recorded with hatchlings born inside the parks.

During the same period 13.07 million hatchlings were released back into the ocean. He also said since the 1970s up to 2010 a total of 54,904 turtles had been tagged.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon that these ancient animals could swim thousands of kilometres just to return to the place they were hatched,” he said.

Apart from the Ministry’s effort, Sabah Parks, Sabah Wildlife Department, Environmental Department, WWF and NGOs also played a vital role on turtle conservation works.

According to the Sabah Parks Director, Paul Basintal people are largely unaware that turtles were a protected species and that works on their conservation started in 1977.

And the aim of campaign is to raise the awareness of the public on the such efforts by the government, its departments, agencies and NGOs.

“This campaign is aimed at announcing to the public these initiatives and to allow an effective community involvement towards such initiatives,” said Basintal.

“Sabah Parks have been given the mandate to do the conservation works since the 70s. “The work requires a full time commitment regardless of public holidays,” he added.

Basintal also complimented the efforts of Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Environmental Department, UMS and WWF which had been doing their own bit in turtle conservation.

The said agencies also set up their own booths during the campaign.

This is the second time Sabah Parks had organised the campaign with the first one being at Lahad Datu in 2008.

Worldwide, 25 species of turtles are currently considered likely to become extinct and have reached conservation status.

In Sabah possession and selling of sea turtle eggs and goods are offences punishable under the 1984 enactment.

Source: Daily Express