Monday, July 20, 2009

Maliau Basin 'Lost world' needs tourists


KOTA KINABALU: Harvard University scientist Dr Campbell Webb has spent years in biodiversity research in Southeast Asia.

But each time he steps into Maliau Basin, the botanist is humbled by the vast biodiversity in the conservation area, also known as the "Lost World".

Webb, who in the last decade has conducted courses and research in the 588-square km area, which comes under the care of the Sabah Foundation, believes the biodiversity there remains almost intact.

For that same reason, the Indonesia-based botanist believes the conservation area would be better protected if it is made more accessible to people like tourists and scientists.

"I am sure many around the world would have heard of the place but not many have visited it.

"In the long run, if people learn more about the place, they will appreciate the place better," he said.

The American also notes it might not be a "Disneyland" but the place, located in the southern part of Sabah, is equipped with ample facilities for leisure and research alike.

The saucer-shaped area, distinguished by its almost circular perimeter, spans 25km in diameter. It is 190km from the east coast district of Tawau and reachable by road in about four hours.

By land from Kota Kinabalu, it takes about six hours via Keningau and Pensiangan, a distance of 260km.

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