Wildlife sanctuary plan
Published on: Monday, August 12, 2019
By: Bernama

SEMPORNA: The Sabah government will identify an area suitable for  wildlife habitat and breeding, especially for endangered animals.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said this move was in line with the Government’s intention to protect and ensure the survival of wildlife, which he said are “treasures” of the state.

Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also the state tourism, culture and environment minister, had been tasked with identifying this area.

“It will be something like the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Africa, where thousands of hectares of land have been reserved for wildlife,” he said when met by reporters after Aidiladha prayers, Sunday.

Shafie said this area would not only house wildlife and endangered animals but would be a tourist attraction.

Visitors could then see the efforts taken by the state to preserve and protect wildlife in Sabah.

He said they want to emulate Africa where the country sets aside some 1,000 acres of land for elephants to roam freely.

“This not only allows wildlife to breed freely, it also attracts tourists, “ Mohd Shafie said.

He said forests in Sabah should also be protected and preserved as they are sanctuaries for wildlife.

“Forests provide a food source for animals too,” said the Senallang assemblyman.

Due to the loss of their natural habitat, these wildlife will start to wander closer to the villages and resulting in human-animal conflicts, he added.

He said humans must try to protect animals as they are the creations of God as well.Shafie said Liew had gone to Jakarta to discuss the Sumatran rhino conservation programme with Indonesia’s Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation director-general Wiratno.

Shafie added that the move was in line with the state’s objective to protect its wildlife and endangered species.

“The only rhinoceros in Malaysia will not be able to breed and have offspring if it has no mates.

“That’s why I have asked Datuk Christina (Liew) to look into the possibility of a collaboration on the (conservation of the Sumatran rhinoceros and proposed breeding programme) matter.”

Malaysia is now left with one female Sumatran rhinoceros named Iman, which lives in a sanctuary in Sabah.

Tam, the only male rhinoceros, died in May.

Iman is said to be ill with uterine fibroids. Despite its condition, Iman is still producing eggs.

“Alhamdulillah, the Indonesian authorities have agreed and we are grateful for their cooperation in fulfilling the desire of the State Government to protect the animal from going extinct,” added the Chief Minister. 

A memorandum of understanding on the matter is expected to be signed between the Indonesian government and Sabah next month.


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