Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary threatened by bridge and road development
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A federal government road and bridge project into Sabah’s ecotourism hub of Sukau in Kinabatangan may benefit the local community, however, the RM79 million project will more than likely harm the wildlife, including the endangered Borneo pygmy elephants that roam the area, said the state’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.
“Seventeen years ago, the Kinabatangan was called Sabah’s ‘Gift to the Earth’ and in 2005, the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary was created to increase forest connectivity along the Kinabatangan River, protect several charismatic species such as the orangutan, the elephant and the proboscis monkey, some of them becoming, over the years, iconic species for attracting eco-tourists to the state,” explained Goossens (Danau Girang Field Centre Director)
“For the past 12 months, we have clearly demonstrated with scientific facts and data that the bridge and the road would have a direct impact on wildlife populations, and especially elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys. The new public road that will subsequently follow the bridge will cut off the last remaining uninhabited route for elephants near Sukau, which will have catastrophic consequences for both the animals and the people. Major conflicts will arise, deaths (elephant attacks on people, elephants shot or poisoned) will occur. Moreover, we will increase easy penetration of poachers into protected forests, especially of ivory traders. We just lost three bull elephants from poaching. Can we decently increase the pressure on the elephant population in Sabah?” Said Dr Benoit Goossens.
In my opinion, the funds of 79 million can be put to better use such as relocating locals instead of building a bridge that destroys Sabah wildlife sanctuary. It is called a wildlife sanctuary for a reason. Sanctuary means "refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger." Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, you're considered the father of conservation of Sabah, it's time you live up to your reputation and protect Sabah's unique wildlife. EXTINCTION IS FOREVER. What is the purpose of having a wildlife sanctuary when there will be no animals inhabiting it. Besides, Sabah's wildlife tourism provides enormous revenue. It is the gem in South-East Asia tourism because it has mountains, forests and the sea, and that many other places cannot rival it as an eco-tourism destination. STOP THE CONSTRUCTION OF KINABATANGAN BRIDGE.
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