Sunda pangolin now totally protected in Sabah

SANDAKAN: The Sunda pangolin has been upgraded to a totally protected species in Sabah, and joins the ranks of the Orangutan, Sun Bear and several other iconic species found in the state.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said this meant that it was forbidden to hunt, consume or sell pangolins or their parts and offenders could face the maximum penalty as provided for in the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

“The document to upgrade the protection status of pangolins has been approved by the Sabah State Cabinet,” he said in a speech at the launch of a pangolin sculpture at the Sandakan Airport here today.

The text of his speech was read out by Assistant Minister Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, who launched the sculpture built from recycled polycarbonate advertising boards and used bottles.

Masidi said one of the biggest challenges in pangolin conservation was that very little was known about “this highly secretive and elusive creature”.

He said that for millions of years, pangolins have evolved and adapted to enable them to remain undetected and were often found in low densities based on camera trapping studies.

This made them rarely seen and particularly difficult to study, leading scientists to believe this species was in significant danger of extinction, he said.

Despite the existence of wildlife laws in different countries, poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife species still persisted, he said.

“The general trend today indicates that elephants, rhinos and pangolins are the most poached species primarily for their ivory, horn and scales, respectively.

“Certainly, the threat to pangolins has become very serious in the past five years. Pangolins are a very vulnerable species and are hunted,” he said.

Masidi said pangolin scales and meat were in high demand in Asian markets for their supposedly miraculous healing properties.

He stressed that local communities could play a positive role in helping to curb the illegal wildlife trade.

On the pangolin sculpture at the airport, he said the collective effort of Future Alam Borneo, Danau Girang Field Centre and Malaysia Airports Berhad in showcasing the sculpture was important in raising awareness on wildlife in the state.

He said it was timely for the NGOs to work with Malaysia Airports to combat wildlife crime and send a message that humans and wildlife must co-exist.

He hoped that the NGOs would maintain the momentum in raising awareness on illegal wildlife trade and continue to assist enforcement efforts to curb illegal wildlife trade.

The sculpture, at the entrance to the departure hall, was built by Japson Wong of JF Production. – Bernama.

Source: Borneo Post Online

Kota Marudu sculptor expresses “hope” through art

Art is inherently beautiful. And art made by local artist contains invaluable intimations and perceptions of occasions, circumstances, and societies, writes Vesta Vanessa Jsol.

Visitors who visit the on-going ‘The 300 Exhibition – Chapter II’ at Sabah Art Gallery will definitely be amazed by hundreds of wonderful artwork, especially those ten tiny boat sculptures made from iron.

Neatly arranged around the exhibition hall on the first floor, the dark-silvered coloured sculptures seem like they are telling something – an untold story.

Curious to know what is behind those ‘boats,’ this New Sabah Times reporter decided to find and interview its sculptor, Rayner Goluhing.

“Hope,” the 29-year-old artist answered when asked about the theme of his creation.

Rayner who hails from Kota Marudu, said that those boats represent hope in people’s daily life.

“Every single day, each one of us might face different difficulties in our life. As an artist, I see that we (people) are swimming in the vast ocean, tired against the waves, longing for shelter and that boat will be our last hope to survive.

“I purposely create it in ten units with different sizes and shapes, symbolizing people’s hopes huge or small, strong or fragile.”

He took about a month to finish the ‘boats’ series. “It’s not that hard to produce, but it does take time to finish.” Currently, he is working with Sabah Handicraft Centre (Keningau).

His love of iron sculpture started since his childhood but only took it seriously in 2009 after he received an offer to further his studies in Bachelor of Creative Arts at a local university.

“These few years of my life were surrounded by pieces of iron, sprockets, barbed wire and fences that I turned into art. Some of the artworks were used as decorations in office lobbies, some hung here at the art exhibition hall and some ended up as house decorations.

“Sculpting is fun, especially with pieces which have been tossed out and deemed no longer of value. I found beauty in discarded pieces of metal.

“I thanked God for giving me a wife who loves art too,” he quipped.

Rayner and his two colleagues, Roslan Yusof, 42, and Alfred Paladius, 30, represented Sabah Handicraft Centre (Keningau) to exhibit their creations.

Roslan showcased batik painting themed ‘Sabah Nature’, while Alfred presented a series of drawings entitled ‘Valley.’

However, their artworks are just parts of the exhibition. There are more attractions that can be found by visiting the hall in person.

In the exhibition opening ceremony held recently, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said that locals need to support home-grown artists in order to ensure the continuity of the local art scene.

He said that the lack of support for local artists may hinder their motivation to create fine masterpieces.

“If we do not support our local talents, they will feel demotivated and our local art scene may face the risk of dying out. Give them encouragement so they can do better in the future and continue making art.”

Masidi added that locals should not only attend art exhibitions, but purchase the works of local artists as they are valuable in the long run.

“Many works produced by our local artists are of high quality. It is never a loss to invest in high quality artworks because its value only increases with time.”

He also reminded artists not to be easily demotivated by the lack of support, as it is all part of their journey in the field.

“We have a lot of talented artists, but we always underestimate their talents. We are more willing to spend thousands on foreign artworks when the quality of those artists may not be on par with our local talents.

“I urge local artists to always keep your heads high whenever people doubted you for they are road bumps that you have to face in reaching your full potential.”

Following the success of its first installation in 2015, The 300 Exhibition – Chapter II features 300 artworks of 30 local artists from around Sabah.

Themed ‘Bawah Bayu,’ featured artworks will be exhibited for three months at the gallery.

Sabah Art Gallery curator Jennifer Linggi said the theme was intended to promote Sabahan culture and heritage, which would inadvertently boost tourism in the state.

She also expressed hope that the exhibition will encourage more local artists to take part in Sabah’s art programmes to increase credibility in management and implementation.

“This programme also mirrors the determination of local artists in organising academic art-related events,” she added.

Artworks featured at The 300 Exhibition – Chapter II are for sale at RM300 a piece.


Source: New Sabah Times

Tourism players advised to embrace digital technology

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism industry players in Sabah have been advised to embrace digital technology to boost their business and further develop the industry in the state.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said this when launching the first Digital Tourism Workshop organized by the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board.

“Just because 3.684 million tourists came to the state last year, does not mean they will come again this year. We have increasing arrivals every year, but do not take for granted.

“The world is so open today, everything is available on our smartphones. When people are planning for their vacation, they are looking for experience. That is why they prefer to make their own arrangement according to the information they found from the internet,” he said.

Masidi further elaborated that hotels and tour agents needed to look at digital technology development as the new potential in marketing their products.

“Report shows that more than half of our tourists from China came to the state on their own. They did not book their holiday through tour agents.

“Almost 60 per cent of them came on their own, and we can see that the number keeps increasing. The culture of traveling is evolving. It is not about visiting or sight seeing anymore, it is about living there,” he added.

During the two-day event, a number of speakers will be sharing their knowledge on how to move in tandem in terms of digital marketing and build a stronger branding for Sabah.

Among the speakers during the workshop include E-Tourism Frontiers founder and chief executive officer Damien Cook, who has made presentations in international forums including the World Information Summit in Tunis, the Global Experts Panel on E-Tourism, ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin as well as PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Tourism Forums.

E-Tourism Frontiers has worked with South African Tourism, Indonesia Tourism Ministry, Athens and Rhodes Tourism (Greece) to name a few, and has partnered with TripAdvisor, Facebook, YouTube, Expedia and Google.

“We are hoping this workshop will make our players wake up from our slumber, work together and not just complain. The world is changing, and we can’t stop technology from evolving. We need to evolve too,” he said.


Source: Borneo Post

Raising awareness on endangered species

KOTA KINABALU: The World Wildlife Fund-Malaysia (WWF) has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness on the endangered species in Sabah.

In the past two years, WWF had held programmes in Sabah. Among them was the Orang-utan Awareness Week at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in November, 2016.

“In October, 2016, WWF held an exhibition on poaching at the Borneo Eco Film Festival. This was a joint effort with the Marine Programme.

“Besides this, an exhibition on wildlife conservation was held at the (annual) Heart of Borneo Conference,” said the organisation.

In August last year, WWF held its inaugural Sabah Elephant Film Festival in conjunction with the World Elephant Day.

To shed light on illegal wildlife trade, WWF also released a YouTube video of the wildlife caught on the Sabah Terrestrial Conservation Project’s camera traps. This was released in conjunction with the World Wildlife Day on March 3 last year.


Source: 365 News

Sabah still strives to ensure Sumatran rhinos’ survival

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 7 — Efforts to ensure the survival of the Sumatran rhinoceros, especially in Sabah, have not ceased, says state tourism, culture and environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He admitted that with the poor health of Iman, the only female rhino in captivity, efforts had become more difficult.

“Considering that she (Iman) is the only one left, to me, that is even more difficult (to save Sumatran rhinos from extinction).

“You know, when you only have one left, sometimes you have to think twice before engaging in a treatment that has not been proven yet,” he said when met by reporters after opening the Camaca Gelato Concept Cafe here today.

Masidi said there had been a lot of suggestions and theories on how to treat Iman, but so far, none were successful.

Nevertheless, he was pleased the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), through its cooperation with various bodies continued to work hard to ensure the survival of the rhino species.

“They (SWD) have probably found and been in touch with someone best in the treatment of rhinos,” he noted.

Iman has been battling uterine leiomyoma tumour when she began bleeding in her uterus on Dec 14 last year.

She is the only female rhino in captivity in the country after the death of Puntung in June last year due to cancer. — Bernama

Source: Malay Mail