230 acres donated for wildlife

KOTA KINABALU: The Saraya Co. Ltd has donated 230 acres of land worth RM9 million to a nongovernment organisation (NGO), Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) Sabah, to manage.

Shafie (centre) and Christina with Saraya Co. Ltd president Yusuke Saraya

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Haji Apdal said the group from Japan wants to ensure the wildlife that thrives at the Lower Kinabatangan can continue to be protected and propagate.

He said that the move by the group should be emulated and that he hoped more industry players were encouraged to play a role to look after the wildlife.

He added that villagers should not kill the wildlife just because they encroach into their land.

“It is not a licence to kill,” he reminded.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Borneo Conservation Trust Sabah, Datuk Laurentius Ambu said that they still needed 800 acres of land that would serve as wildlife corridors than links one forest to another.

The function of the corridor is to reduce the incident of humanwildlife conflict while allowing the wildlife to travel from one forested area to the other using the corridor.

He said that so far they only managed to get 20 per cent of land to serve as corridors in the Lower Kinabatangan.

At the same time, Shafie also commented on the recent murder of an elephant, allegedly by the officer and settlers of Felda.
“We have to take action,” he said.

He reminded that even though the animals encroached into their land, it is not a licence for them to kill the wildlife.
“There is the Sabah Wildlife Department,” he said.

Also present at the event are Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew, the ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk William Baya, Saraya Co. Ltd president, Yusuke Saraya and Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga.

Meanwhile, Yusuke expressed support for Christina’s proposal to convert the Green Corridor (acquired land) into an Elephant Food Corridor for the benefit of future generations.

“This is an advancement from our original plan to protect and conserve wildlife in Sabah,” he said.
One of BCT Japan’s initiatives is the Green Corridor Project (20082019) which aims to connect small remaining patches of forest areas to create one large, continuous ecosystem.

Christina had reiterated that the proposed Elephant Food Corridor should serve to connect the key habitats (some of which are fragmented habitats) for orangutans, proboscis monkeys, Borneo pygmy elephants and other wildlife species (as just one Wildlife Food Corridor) in the Kinabatangan region. Some of these animals are on the brink of extinction.

She had also stressed that government leaders come and go but good policies should remain, adding, “Even if there is any change in the future, it should be for betterment”.

Source from: The Borneo Post (Sabah), 9 October 2019