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Endangered wildlife in Sabah to get extra protection

KOTA KINABALU: Following the death of one of its three Sumatran rhinos, Sabah will go all out to protect its remaining endangered animals, starting with the Sunda clouded leopard next.

The leopard is endemic to Sabah.

“We do not want to come down to a similar situation where we only start getting serious when there is only a few of a species left, it will be a bit too late then,” said Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

The state suffered a huge blow to its conservation efforts when one of the last three remaining rhinos was euthanised due to cancer earlier this month, he added.

The flora and fauna of Sabah were the gems that attracted visitors here, bringing in income, Pang said when opening a workshop on ways to protect the species here yesterday.

The workshop, which ends tomorrow, is organised by the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD).

An action plan to protect the Sunda clouded leopard is expected to be drawn up following recommendations based on findings of a five-year extensive research on the animals conducted by DGFC and SWD.

Pang said DGFC – a collaborative research and training facility managed by the Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University – had identified the Sunda clouded leopard to focus on this time.

Pang said tourists from China (being the most number of visitors coming to Sabah) are showing more interest in nature and related tourisms.

He added that the Sabah Parks would be increasing its conservation tax “very soon” in view of its needs to have more programmes towards the protection of the environment.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the Sunda clouded leopard deserved its fair share of attention as there are only about 700 left in the wild.

Source: The Star Online

Scubazoo’s new Borneo Jungle Diaries, airs tomorrow.

KOTA KINABALU: Scubazoo will be launching its latest online series, ‘Borneo Jungle Diaries’ tomorrow in conjunction with World Environment Day.

The series featuring 10 new episodes , will see each episode aired Monday.

It will highlight the efforts by researchers and scientists of Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), a remote facility in Kinabatangan, in their efforts to save Borneo’s wildlife.

The first episode will be made available on scubazoo.tv at 4pm tomorrow and DGFC facebook page.

This is the third series on Borneo by the Asian leading natural history filming and photography company based in Kota Kinabalu.

Borneo Jungle Diaries will feature Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski and had hosted two previous series – Borneo from Below and Borneo Wildlife Warriors, said Scubazoo founder and chief executive officer Simon Christopher.

“We hope to create more buzz on the wildlife conservation efforts here not just globally but also locally as many Sabahans do not know much about their endemic animals, via the online tv series,” said Christopher during a press preview of the series.

Meanwhile, DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the series aim to investigate life behind-the-scenes at the field centre, as researchers safeguard Kinabatangan’s most charismatic animals through monitoring, learning and understanding.

Amongst the interesting content are the tagging of Sunda pangolin for the first time ever, intimate insights into the behaviour of nocturnal primates, and tracking a herd of elephants.

“Four episodes will also showcase Malaysian students studying at the field centre; PhD students Nurzhafarina Othman, Elisa Panjang and Sai Kerisha Kntayya and Masters student Leona Wai.

“I believe that those students can become ambassadors for wildlife conservation in Sabah and Malaysia and are examples to be followed by the next Malaysian generation of conservationists,” said Goossens in a statement.

Source: New Straits Times

1,048 trees planted in Tawau

TAWAU: The district planted 1,048 trees in conjunction with the 1 Heart 1 Tree Campaign to plant a million trees all over Sabah during the Tawau Municipal Council (TMC) level at the Muhibbah Public Park yesterday.

TMC president Alijus Sipil said the program headed by the Sabah Court will be carried out in stages in the district with the help and advice from the Forestry Department and Agriculture Department.

He said it is also hoped that the public, departments and schools will take part in this program to make Tawau greener.

Tawau Sessions Court judge Indra Ayub said the project was inspired by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjun to give awareness on the importance of caring for the environment, green concept, loving the environment and responsibility to take care of the environment.

He said Sabah Court had a special court for environment where cases concerning environment would be given priority and give awareness to the public that offense on environment was an issue that must be handled without delay.

Indra said the project started in Danum in January this year and moved to all over Sabah, and yesterday the campaign was launched in Tawau which was organized by Tawau Court with the cooperation from TMC, Forestry and Agriculture Departments which will see the planting of trees carried out until the year end.

He said as of yesterday, a total of 836,379 trees have been planted all over the state and encouraged members of the public to plant even at their own yard which will be taken into account.

Source: Borneo Post

Land policy for food production needed – Masidi

KOTA KINABALU: The state government needs to look at its land policy for food production, said Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun.

He said this was imperative to ensure the state was not dependent on others to supply its food needs in the future.

“About 75 percent of our rice is imported. We need to address this, we need to look at our land policy for food production. We need food for ourselves,” Masidi said, adding that this was his personal opinion.

He added that members of the government also seemed to feel the need to look at the land policy and feel that Sabah had probably reached the limit for oil palm.

“There is a need to sit with the planters to look at other crops such as food crops,” he said at the book launch of the ‘Orang-utan: The Natural History of an Endangered Ape’, authored by Elizabeth L. Bennett and photography by Cede Prudente. The book was published by the Natural History Publications (Borneo).

Masidi also spoke of the conservation efforts undertaken in Sabah, stating that it was the best in the country.

“Fifteen years ago we realised that we have enough (of) logging. We caused misery to our iconic animals,” he said.

The state has since decided to keep between 56 and 58 percent of its area under forest cover and is aiming for 30 percent as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs), he said.

“We are now at 25 percent in TPAs,” he said.

He added that they were expecting to achieve the target by or before 2025.

Additionally, a total of 700,000 hectares of forests are being planted to avoid cutting natural forests, he said.

And with regard to the orang-utans, Masidi said the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre had become a popular tourism attraction for Sabah.

He explained that the primary objective of setting up the centre was not for tourism but rather to rehabilitate orang-utans that were displaced in the past.

“It accidentally became a tourist attraction. It is not a zoo but a rehab centre. Some tour operators feel short changed because they did not see orang-utans during feeding time. But this is a good sign. It means that the (rehabilitation) programme has been successful,” said Masidi.

Also present at the event was publisher Datuk C.L. Chan.

Source: Borneo Post

Crucial builders’ role in green construction: Yeo

Kota Kinabalu: The construction industry plays a critical role in promoting green construction by conforming to the guideline as provided for in the green building index, said Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai.

“Conformance is vital like when we are faced with the daunting task of tackling large amounts of illegal waste dumping within Kota Kinabalu city,” he said while officiating at the Earth Day 2017 celebration at the Oceanus Waterfront Mall here on Saturday.

Yeo’s speech was delivered by City Hall Deputy Director General (Operations) Noorliza Awang Alip.

“The application of green construction as part of the sustainable development concept will enable us to meet our present needs without having to deprive our future generations of the same needs.

“City Hall has long been an advocate and driving force towards green environment, particularly reduction of waste at source,” he said.

“The formulation of a solid waste master plan will provide us with the strategies, plans and implementation programmes that will promote a cleaner and greener environment for the city,” he added.

Yeo said he was pleased to see the level of commitment from all industry players especially the construction industry players who seek ‘to do better’ in green environment.

“The next step is to put our commitment into action. I believe the industry is similarly ready to do the same.

“Let us therefore work towards a greener environment and create a living environment for our future generations, this is also, in line with City Hall’s vision to make ‘Kota Kinabalu a clean, green and liveable city'”, he said.

Yeo also said that he was very happy to cooperate and give his full support to non-government organisations such as Sabah Construction and Domestic Waste Management Association (SCDWA) to develop and implement the necessary strategies, plans to address the illegal waste dumping issues and to enhance public awareness among the city dwellers in the city.

Green environment especially in construction has been a topic of great interest in the local construction industry over the last few years, he said.

“I am most delighted to learn that the industry is keen to join hands with the non-government organisations to further enhance our living environment.”

Also present were City Hall Director of Research and Innovation Department Benedick Oliver Lidadun, SCDWA president Steve Yeo and Oceanus Waterfront Mall general manager Mall operations Yong Kwo Gee. – Jo Ann Mool

Source: Daily Express