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62 species of dragonflies found in Imbak Canyon, Danum Valley

KOTA KINABALU: Sixty-two species of dragonflies were found in Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley during the recent Yayasan Sabah Batu Timbang Scientific Expidition, where some of it are endemic to Sabah.

One of participants of the expedition, Dr Choong Chee Yen, said one particular species, Telosticta Janeus can only be found in Imbak Canyon and Danum Valley.

“According to the previous research on this area, there are 68 species of dragonflies recorded but during this recent trip I only managed to identify 62. This is due to limited time, but from my observation the population of dragonflies there are healthy,” he said.

According to Choong, there is a need to do more studies on dragonflies in the particular area to record as many number of species living there, in order to gain a better information of populations.

“There is also a need to know if the Telosticta Janeus can live in the other parts of forest in Sabah,” he said.

 

Source: Borneo Post

Safeguarding the Corridor of Life

GREETED by the sweet sound of nature, Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) transports you to a different world. Surrounded with lush greenery, you might wonder how this virgin rainforest remained unscathed throughout the years.With every step you take into this tropical treasure, it unveils secrets that will lure you deeper into its grounds.

Dubbed as the ‘Living Pharmacy’ in the heart of Sabah, ICCA is located in the central interior of Sabah just immediately to the north of Maliau Basin Conservation Area. The canyon is a 27,599 ha complex of rainforest habitats within a 25 km long valley, hemmed in on three sides by sandstone ridges.

At their highest point, the ridges exceed 1,000m with the highest reaching 1,128m.

ICCA is one of the largest contiguous pristine lowland dipterocarp forest left in Sabah.

According to Yayasan Sabah Director Datuk Sapawi bin Haji Ahmad, ICCA is named a botanical gene bank.

“ICCA has rich plant biodiversity with over 600 species recorded to date. ICCA is also home to mammal species with both lowland and montane species present in a limited geographic area.

“Among them, Orang utan, Proboscis monkey, Banteng and Borneo Pygmy elephant,” said Sapawi.

He also said Imbak Canyon was formerly part of the forest concession assigned to Yayasan Sabah Group.

“In 2003, Yayasan Sabah Group voluntarily designated ICCA as a conservation area for purposes of research, education, training and nature recreation.

“Six years later, in 2009, ICCA was upgraded to Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve by the Sabah State Legislative Assembly,” Sapawi said.

“The day-to-day management of ICCA is carried out by Yayasan Sabah Group on behalf of an inter-agency Imbak Canyon Management Committee which also includes Sabah Forestry Department, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and several other agencies.

“ICCA is conserved both for its function as a gene – bank as well as in helping to protect the quality of our river system.”

The grounds for the protection of this unique area include biodiversity, particularly botanical diversity; geological including the scenic amenity associated with the site; and the neighbouring indigenous communities and the unique range of forest knowledge they possess – which as yet remains to be fully documented.

“The key conservation values for ICCA among others are its high biodiversity and endemism; in situ conservation of threatened species; undiscovered species; undisturbed functioning ecosystems; corridor of life and climate change refuge; monitoring climate change; natural monument and scenic amenity; basic resource needs for neighbouring indigenous communities; cultural and heritage values; and bio-prospecting reserve,” he said.

ICCA provides protection for a series of ecosystems ranging from lowland rainforest to lower montane forest – all are found within a relatively small geographical range – and provide a home to high biodiversity with early evidence of high endemism.

Many species found within the ecosystems afforded protection by ICCA are endangered and vulnerable.

Many species have also yet to be discovered and described as less than 50pc of ICCA’s 27,599ha has been explored to date.

“In addressing the ecosystems in ICCA, they are undisturbed and important in terms of maintaining and securing evolutionary processes – this has particular relevance given the ongoing climate change.”

ICCA is also a corridor of life and climate change refuge where it provides functional protection for part of the upper Kinabatangan catchment and compliments the conservation initiatives in the lower Kinabatangan i.e. to maintain a “corridor of life” along the river length through to the Sulu Sea. As such, protection is provided from coastal and lowland rainforests through to the montane forests in ICCA – and indeed MBCA,” said Sapawi.

During the most recent glacial episodes, central Borneo, including Sabah, provided sanctuary (refuge) for many species of flora and fauna. ICCA maintains the potential to provide a key site for refuge from impacts during contemporary and future climate change.

Species may move inland and upwards along an altitudinal gradient. ICCA also provides an important ‘stepping stone’ between lowland and montane forests, when viewed in terms of the larger conservation landscape.

The isolated and pristine nature of the site also makes it ideal for monitoring climate along a gradient of altitudes.

“As part of a landscape – combined with the ecosystems provided protection – ICCA is a feature of national and international importance and outstanding conservation value and on its own, qualifies to be considered a natural monument,” Sapawi added.

ICCA also provides scenic amenity within the broader conservation and national landscape.

Waterfalls within ICCA also provide local scenic amenity.

In addition, the protected area maintains the potential to satisfy the basic natural resource needs of the neighbouring communities – if the connection and intervening forest cover is maintained.

Similarly, ICCA provides protection for a range of cultural and heritage values, including ethno-botanical, for the neighbouring communities. Besides this, the protection provided by ICCA and its management areas secures the forest for bio-prospecting now and in the future – thus setting the scene for biodiversity conservation through bio-prospecting potentially with local community partners.

 

Source: Daily Express

600 go head-to-head in Sabah’s 3rd Kiulu Adventure Challenge

KIULU: Over 600 people put their endurance to the test in the 3rd Kiulu Adventure Challenge 2017 here on Sunday.

The adventure race saw local and international participants cycle 30km past several villages; and run 13km along the Kiulu river, which is an international water rafting hotspot.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said that this year’s participation is encouraging, having exceeded its goal of 500 participants.

 

“This is also the first time Pekan Kiulu became the start and end point for the challenge. (Situating the race there), where 50 stalls were set up during the challenge, will benefit local traders and entrepreneurs.

“Not only is this is a sporting event, it is also a platform to promote the handicraft and traditional food and drink of the local community,” he told reporters after flagging-off the event.

Meanwhile, on the subject of tourism, the Kiulu assemblyman said that the construction of adequate infrastructure should be given emphasis to help develop rural tourism.

This includes improving roads, and providing clean water and power supply to rural areas.

“Therefore, I hope that the villagers and local community leaders will continue to give their support to rural tourism, thus boosting the economy of Kiulu,” Joniston added

 

Source: New Straits Times

Ocean heroes spreading marine awareness

KOTA KINABALU: Marine conservation is important and people are encouraged to become ‘ocean heroes’. The Downbelow X Rip Curl Marine Conservation Programme 2017 held here yesterday was to reiterate and bring across the message.

It was held at a dive centre at Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park near here.

This joint event between Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventure and Rip Curl Malaysia was aimed at raising awareness towards the global problem of marine debris.

Duty Manager Mohd Fauzi Mohd Sofian said that programme is a step towards educating the people about many issues related to the ocean.

“We aimed to raise awareness, educate and encourage action towards the global problem of marine debris and the importance of preserving our coral reefs.

“Downbelow and Rip Curl Malaysia hope to motivate people to become ocean heroes in protecting our ocean,” he said to New Sabah Times yesterday.

About 100 local and international participants took part and acquired some tips on why everyone must fight the good fight to save the ocean environment.

Some of them were marine science students from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), staffers from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kota Kinabalu (SPCA).

Beach cleaning and coral planting were also held as part of the day’s activities. About 400 corals were planted onto 200 cement blocks.

Meanwhile, Managing Director and PADI Platinum Course Director, Richard Swan, conducted the coral reef conservation awareness presentation. They learnt about coral, their importance to the environment, the threats it face and what public should or should not do as a diver, snorkeler or non-swimmer.

Speaking to the public about the importance of preserving coral reefs, Richard highlighted that coral is the life of the ocean and people should realise that coral help in maintaining our marine ecosystem and beach.

“We hope that people will know about the importance of care and preserve our precious coral reefs. “We play our roles as a part of living things by sharing our harmonious with marine.”

Participant Chrizz Diver, 31, shared his experiences in marine conservation programme saying that many people are unaware the negative impact of dumping rubbish into the sea.

“As humans living together with other inhabitants on this earth, we can contribute by recycling plastic or reducing the usage of plastics in our daily life while maintaining the cleanliness or our beaches and oceans.

“One time, I saw a turtle was badly injured from eating plastic, and it shows how badly the effect of throwing rubbish into the sea can do to the marine life… it kills them.”

The one-day programme was also joined and supported by local celebrities like Daphne Iking, MMA Fighter AJ “Pyro” Mansor and MMA Fighter Ann “Athena” Osman.

Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures were doing their part to lead the public towards conservation. They have been education providers locally and internationally for the past 15 years.

The companies pledged commitment to responsible tourism and provide courses that foster appreciation, awareness and conservation of our environment of local people.

 

Source: New Sabah Times

17 mln turtle hatchlings released to sea – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: The RM1 million allocation for turtle conservation under the State Budget 2018 reflects the State Government’s seriousness in conservation efforts, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.Masidi said an estimated 17 million turtle hatchlings have been released to the sea since the government became involved in turtle conservation.

He said this at a press conference after witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and Sabah Parks Board of Trustees yesterday.

Masidi said the signing of the MoU will enable Sabah Parks to receive continuous guidance in its publications from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, besides enhancing the cooperation between the two bodies in terms of the quality and types of books produced.

He said the cooperation between DBP and Sabah Parks have been established since 2004. To date, eight books authored by Sabah Parks staff have been published under the guidance of DBP.

The two bodies are also in the process of producing an encyclopedia on Sabah Parks that will enlighten readers on the biodiversity, conservation efforts and uniqueness in all the parks.

Masidi hoped that the natural treasures under Sabah Parks could be shared with Malaysians and even the international community through the publication of such books.

He said Sabah Parks was among the most successful government agencies not only in book publications, but also in terms of efforts to expand its activities on land and sea.

Sabah Parks is actively expanding the scope of marine parks to be gazetted, the latest being the Tun Mustapha Park in Kudat which is the largest marine park in Malaysia with an area close to one million hectares.

To date, Masidi said seven percent of the seas in Sabah, equivalent to two million hectares, have been gazetted as marine parks.

“Our goal is to increase (marine parks) to 10 percent as recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),” Masidi said.

All these efforts were undertaken to achieve balance in progress and environmental conservation, he explained.

“This is clearly reflected in the (State) Budget 2018 by the Chief Minister, that we want conservation efforts and physical development to be carried out in parallel. Meaning to say that we can be a progressive state but also maintains the beauty and wonder of the environment in Sabah,” Masidi said.

The MoU was signed between Sabah Parks Board of Trustees chairman Datuk Seri Dr Tengku Zainal Adlin Bin Tengku Mahamood and DBP deputy director-general (policy) Datuk Haji Abang Sallehuddin bin Abg Shokeran.

Also present were Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministers Datuk Pang Yuk Ming and Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, and Sabah Parks director Dr Jamili Nais.

 

Source: Borneo Post