KOTA KINABALU: Better protection is in store for the wildlife and forests of Sabah’s Lower Kinabatangan region, home to the famed Borneo Pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and countless species of animals.
The area was finally gazetted on Aug 11 as a wildlife sanctuary under Section 9 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
Under the gazette, 17 parcels of land totalling 26,103ha along Sungai Kinabatangan, the second-longest river in the country, have been declared a wildlife sanctuary.
Of the area, 24,146ha are in Kinabatangan district and the balance in Sandakan district.
In the gazette, the Sabah government also revoked the status of the area as game or bird sanctuary reserves.
Copies of the gazette are available at the state Printing Department for RM3 each.
The gazetting of Lower Kinabatangan came six years after the state government declared the area, with its 100-million-year-old forests, a “Gift to the Earth and Corridor of Life.”
In July, The Star reported that 20% of the sanctuary was under threat by illegal encroachment and logging.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat responded by saying that the gazetting should be finalised by the end of September or early October.
He said Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman had pushed for the sanctuary to be gazetted faster.
Chong, a Deputy Chief Minister, clarified that an aerial check of the area showed that only 1% had been encroached on.
Courtesy of The Star