Soft Launch of The State Wildlife Species Action Plan

KOTA KINABALU: Human activities including development, poaching and illegal trapping of Sabah’s wildlife are endangering protected species, such as the Borneon Banteng (wild buffalo), proboscis monkey and Sunda Clouded Leopard.

A 10-year action plan has been drawn up to help protect these species, and is expected to be submitted to the Cabinet soon.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew said the action plan drawn up by various experts including scientists, the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department will help the state tackle the issue.

“The plan will provide guidelines and a structure for the management of wildlife in Sabah,” she said after the soft launch of the State Wildlife Species Action Plan here on Thursday (Sept 20).

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Liew said the daunting task of protecting Sabah’s unique flora and fauna does not only lie with the authorities, but with the people itself.

“We need everyone, including local communities to be aware of the things they do that could hurt our wildlife,” she said, adding that the Sime Darby Foundation had also played a huge role in funding research and efforts to protect Sabah’s wildlife.

Among the proposals in the action plan is to have an "elite" team of enforcers on the ground to help tackle the issue.

Liew said she was all for it but whether on not it could be implemented immediately was another issue.

She said this was because the funds involved would be huge to rope in local experts and those from overseas.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said the three species – Sunda Clouded Leopard, proboscis monkeys and the Borneon Banteng – are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and road development such as the Pan Borneo Highway.

“We need to get the government to relook at the Pan Borneo Highway and get information on how not to bulldoze through wildlife rich areas,” he said.

He said the decline in proboscis monkey population was due to the expansion of aquaculture projects in mangrove areas while the clouded leopards suffer from low population density (loss of habitat).

“The Banteng is victim of heavy poaching, snaring and fragmentation and sometimes, hybridisation where it is mated with domestic cattle,” Dr. Goossens said.

On Sabah’s fight against illegal hunting and killing of the Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Liew said efforts are continuously being taken to prevent deaths but the tasks are difficult.

“We suspect foreign workers and even locals themselves to be the ones responsible for their deaths but we don’t have any proof or eyewitness,” she said.

She said the government is planning to have one to one meetings with plantations and local communities to tell them to stop setting up snare traps or killing encroaching animals.

“We won’t press charges for now (as we don’t have any proof) but we want to get everyone on board to help protect our protected wildlife in Sabah,” Liew said.



Source from https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/20/10year-action-plan-drawn-up-to-protect-sabah-wildlife/#HIAwe3umx6DocKv1.99

News Date: 
20 September 2018