News & Updates

Accurate info needed to manage natural resources?

Tourism Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun wants the interlinking social and ecological systems in Sabah to be thoroughly investigated. He said this was important for gathering accurate information that could be used in properly managing the State’s natural resources, which were the key element in the development of Sabah’s tourism industry.

“We are well known for our rich cultural heritage, but a lot more could be done to examine how the socio-ecological systems have been evolving over a long time in our history.

“Perhaps, such information, if collected and investigated, can help in formulating strategies for successful management of at least the key environmental resources,” said Masidi in his speech for the International Annual Seminar on Marine Science and Aquaculture here, yesterday.

The text of his speech was read by Assistant Minister Datuk Ellron Angin, who officiated at the seminar on his behalf.

Masidi said the State Government wanted to make knowledge-based decisions on environmental management for human welfare and mitigating the effects of climate changes.

However, since socio-ecological systems were complex, he said serious analysis and expert opinions were necessary for examining the issues at stake and formulating policies.

“In this connection, I support innovative scientific information as well as lessons from the past. I certainly would like to see that our decisions today have elements of long term sustainability and will in no way become a negative legacy for future scenarios,” he added.

He said scientific evidences suggesting that the climate is changing and ocean ecosystems are undergoing changes as a result, have implications for policies and strategies for responding to the unfolding situations.

This, he added, calls for smart policy decisions at the global level, involving all countries, but while there were serious discussions the countries involved have not walked the talk.

Fortunately in Malaysia, said Masidi, there has been a rapidly growing attention towards environmental conservation, and because of the country’s vast coastline, the concern over climate changes on marine ecosystem was also growing.

He stressed that the government was serious about marine biodiversity and was trying to expand the marine protected areas, control the destructive fishing practices, and increase rehabilitation efforts.

“I intend to support the development of new perspectives of socio-ecological systems which respond to climate as well as social and economic stresses.

“We need to have sufficient information on this aspect, to evolve optimum strategies for managing ecosystems on sustainable basis. Human activities and ecological systems are evolving entities but the direction they take need to adapt to changing realities,” he said.

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Shark-ban draft law gets the nod

The state government has approved a draft amendment to a provision in the Fisheries Act that would ban shark hunting and finning in Sabah waters. Tourism, Culture and Environ-ment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun confirmed the state cabinet’s decision for a ban on shark hunting.

“The state Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry has submitted the amendments to its federal counterparts.

“We hope they can take the necessary action to get the proposed provisions enacted,” he said yesterday.

Masidi said that the state was hoping that the process would not take long as Sabah was eager for the ban to be enforced and it could only be done if the federal Fisheries Act was to be amended.

The state government, over a year ago, proposed a ban on shark hunting and finning in an effort to conserve the shark population.

However, the state was unable to impose the ban on its hunting as such a law involved amending the federal Fisheries Act.

The state Fisheries authorities subsequently worked out a draft amendment to the Fisheries Act that would put in place a ban on shark hunting in Sabah waters.

The draft was approved by the state cabinet at its recent meeting and handed over to the federal authorities.

As an interim measure, the Tourism Ministry supported campaigns initiated by NGOs for people to avoid shark fin soup at restaurants.

They also concentrated on raising awareness among target groups like fishmongers to stop selling sharks and shark fins.

Source: The Star (By MUGUNTAN VANAR)

Slovenian to defend Paragliding Accuracy World Cup title

Defending champion, Matjaz Ferarci, is in to defend his title against 65 paragliders in this year’s Paragliding Accuracy World Cup Sabah which begins today.
The Slovenian, who just turned 53 about four days ago, is also second in the world ranking. He is in the state after a paragliding trip in Indonesia earlier this week.

Held on the hilly area in Kampung Lohan, here, about 120 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu, it is considered as a sport for the future which has great potential in the sport tourism product for Sabah.

“Sabah can add another to its extensive list of tourism products,” said the event’s deputy chairman, Lieutenant Colonel (R) Basir Ab Rahman.

He said there is much potential to develop aviation sports particularly paragliding in places like Ranau and other sites in Sabah.

Malaysia, he added, has won the bid to host the second Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) Asian Paragliding Championship in 2014.

“Our plan is to bring FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship to Malaysia by 2015,” he said.

The participants, coming from 13 countries, will be competing in four categories, namely the Individual Open, Individual Women Open, Team Open and Individual Malaysia Open, offering cash prizes amounting to RM21,600.

Paragliding has been widely accepted in all European, East Asian and American nations, which naturally attracts a huge market for the tourism industry because of the sport’s popularity.

The natural geographical landscape in Sabah makes the state an ideal location to host the event, said Basir.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Abidin marked the launching ceremony by flying in tandem with some 30 people, yesterday.

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Collared elephant provides hope in finding vital corridors in fragmented habitat

A female Borneo pygmy elephant recently fitted with a satellite collar is expected to become her herd’s ambassador in determining important migration corridors between forested areas currently cut off by development, including the Sandakan-Lahad Datu road.

The collar on the 1.9-metre tall elephant captured in the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve is expected to transmit data on possible further migration into the Pin Supu Forest Reserve, or from the Lower Kinabatangan region to Segaliud Lokan.

Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) Conservation and Research head Raymond Alfred said the estimated 290 to 310 elephants in the Kinabatangan region are currently separated from the main population in central Sabah, including the Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, by a main road.

Alfred said the solution to habitat fragmentation lies in the creation of a network of wildlife “corridors” that link forest reserves.

“This collaring activity is one of the components of the Mega Biodiversity Corridor programme initiated by BCT, which aims to enhance forest ecosystem connectivity and ecological corridors within key habitats of the Bornean elephant and Orang Utan in Sabah.

“The Mega Biodiversity Corridor will allow elephants and Orang Utan to safely migrate, access food sources and establish crucial genetic links between populations,” Alfred said in a joint statement issued by BCT and the Sabah Wildlife Department here today.

The elephant named “Segaliud” is estimated to be between 25 and 35 years old. She was observed to be physically healthy and was in lactation with a calf of around five to six months old.

The collaring exercise is the first to be carried out by BCT and the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit in collaboration with KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd.

Alfred said there was a need to develop a long-term action plan to address the issue of fragmentation.

“Steps may include land purchase and the securing and restoration of riparian reserves (at river banks) to re-establish the vital wildlife corridors that link key habitats and protected areas,” Alfred said.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said the department is working closely with BCT and its partners from the private sector to reinstate and maintain crucial elephant corridors.

“Wildlife corridors offer one of the best long term solutions facing the endangered Bornean elephant,” Ambu said.

According to the Elephant Action Plan recently released by the department, there are an estimated 2,040 elephants in Sabah.

Source: Bernama (by Haslin Gaffor)

Rescued tarsier to provide info on home range

A male tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), about the size of the palm of an adult, was rescued from a new oil palm plantation on March 7, and has since been fitted with a radio collar to identify its home range.

The nocturnal primate was found on land owned by villagers near the Gomantong area by the father of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) field research assistant Saroto Payar, who then brought it back to the Centre.

Cardiff University student Alice Miles, who is leading a project on the ecology of tarsier and slow loris at the DGFC, said the rescued animal was kept in a cage for a day and fed with insects before it was released into the forest.

“In the evening, we fitted him with a radio-collar and released him into the wild. We named him Lad which is short for “ladang” or plantation in Bahasa Malaysia, and which also refers to males in English.

“The following night, we went back to the forest and looked for him using our telemetry equipment.

“Lad was found about 150 to 200 metres from where he was released, hunting on the ground”, Miles said.

She said this in a press release jointly issued by the Sabah Wildlife Department and DGFC.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said understanding habitat needs, diet and social organisation of tarsiers were key to forming conservation policies for the unique creatures.

“Apart from Lad, we have so far collared four tarsiers in the vicinity of the field centre in Lot 6 of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Recently, two females were fitted with radio collars enabling us to identify their sleeping sites and map their home range. We hope that Lad will meet one of these two females in the near future,” Goossens said.

He said the nocturnal primate project at DGFC is funded by three American zoos — Columbus, Cleveland and Phoenix.

Source: Bernama