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Wildlife corridor needs 800 acres more
Published on: Thursday, October 10, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

KOTA KINABALU: At least 800 acres more are needed for the Kinabatangan wildlife/green corridor, an initiative to connect the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary area which is crucial for the survival of the iconic wildlife animals and reducing the human-wildlife animal conflict in Sabah, to truly become a reality. 

Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) Sabah Chairman, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu, said to achieve that would require about RM40-RM60 million to purchase the required patches of land so that the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary will be fully connected. 

Currently the sanctuary is still not fully connected, separated by agriculture land, but efforts are continuing to achieve the connectivity, so to create a corridor for the wildlife animals to be able to roam throughout the sanctuary area.

“At the moment, the efforts to create this wildlife/green corridor has only achieved 20 per cent (in terms of connectivity)...still a lot more need to be done.

“We need that amount of land (800 acres) for the wildlife animals to have a complete network (mobility) in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. There is still about 80 per cent link to be completed,” he said during a press conference after the handing over of 230 acres (93 hectares) in Kinabatangan by Japan’s Saraya Co Ltd and Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) Japan to the State Government at Sutera Marina and Country Club, here.  

The 230 acres are to be gazetted as part of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who witnessed the handing over ceremony, thanked Saraya and BCT Japan for the contribution and said it is indeed a very good example not only to the Government but also all individuals to ensure that “we follow that sort of action to help in ensuring the survival of our wildlife animals that have been deprived of food and places to live in. 

“I think it is time for us to have a proper policy in the State Government on how we can ensure this. We must have a clear-cut not only policy but also structure to manage this,” he said.

Shafie said efforts also need to be done to encourage plantation players and villagers throughout Sabah to work with the State Wildlife Department in the case of human-wildlife animal encounter/conflict so that further action can be taken to address it.

This is better than resorting to killing the wildlife when it encroach into their respective areas, he said, adding that such encroachment does not give anyone a licence to kill it. 

Stern action will be taken against those found killing any protected wildlife animals in Sabah, warned Shafie.  

“We are asking people not to kill these protected wildlife if it come into their respective areas, because we have the Wildlife Department to ensure action will be taken to prevent it from recurring. We also understand that we human invaded the habitat of these wildlife for cultivation purpose and for profit until they have almost nowhere to source for food.

“We also understand that these protected animals were created and given by God for us in Sabah to protect,” he said. 

He said the noble contribution by Saraya and BCT Japan not only help the State Government’s conservation effort, but also teaches the people about volunteerism in conservation of wildlife and natural environment.

Not only that, he said, the good deed done by both are also helping Sabah’s effort to address climate change in the State. 

“The State Government policy on the logging activity is also part of our effort to control climate change, particularly in Sabah. We need to take stern action in this matter before it is too late and natural disasters happening in the State, as what we can see happening in many other countries throughout the world,” he said. 

Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Christina Liew, Saraya Co Ltd President, Yusuke Saraya, Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Datuk William Baya, Sabah Wildlife Department Director, Augustine Tuuga, and BCT Japan Local Coordinator, Yuko Kishi, among others, were also present.  



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