Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sarawak’s wild side

Sarawak's botanical riches, diverse landscapes and wildlife make it a favourite stomping ground for nature lovers and scientists alike.

Where in Malaysia can you find a state that boasts more than 20 national parks, five wildlife sanctuaries, three nature reserves and 700,000ha of totally protected forest land (10 times the size of Singapore)?

Whether you're a bird enthusiast, pitcher plant buff or an adventure freak, Sarawak is bound to have something for you. National parks like Bako, Lambir and Similajau have well-marked trails — a utopia for self-guided treks, while remote settlements like the Kelabit Highlands offer culture, crisp cool air and some adventure.

Thanks to the proliferation of cheap flights, it's now a breeze for Peninsular folks to head here for a weekend getaway.

Sarawak's natural areas attract conservation groups like the Malaysian Nature Society's (MNS) Miri and Kuching branches who organise activities like nature camps, bird-watching trips and outdoor photography here.

"These places help us educate the community about our natural backyard," says MNS Miri's Mohd Nazeri Abdul Ghani. "In the end, the voice of the community will be the deciding factor in conserving our natural heritage. If you don't care for your backyard, no one else will.''

National parks are important repositories for the preservation of our natural heritage, adds Rebecca D'Cruz, MNS Kuching's chairperson.

"These parks should be viewed as part of Sarawak's ‘natural capital', a vital economic contribution leading to sustainable development. For example, a stock of trees or fish provides a flow of new trees or fish, a flow which can be indefinitely sustainable."

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Sarawak’s wild side

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