Saturday, June 25, 2011

Symposium reveals Borneo carnivore conservation needs urgent

TUARAN: Very little is known of Bornean carnivores.

According to Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu at the closing of the first Borneo Carnivore Symposium at a resort near here yesterday, this fact had surprised even experts in the field.

“It was only in 2002 that the first photograph ever taken of a free-ranging Borneo Bay Cat, a species exclusive to this island,” he told the conference participants.

And while a lot has been achieved since then, the seven-day conference also revealed that there was still so much to do and to find out, Ambu said.

“In particular, research with a focus on conservation management is more necessary than ever. But the conservation needs of Bornean carnivores are urgent and cannot wait until we know everything that we need to know of,” he stressed.

Therefore, practical consideration of conservation issues and evaluation of key landscapes and areas for carnivore conservation were at the centre of the discussion during the conference, he said.

“I believe that these discussions have been very helpful in that they are a first, huge step on the road towards co-ordinated action in implementing carnivore conservation.

“This is important for our stated aim to achieve the conservation of carnivores and other flagship animals whilst at the same time following the path of sustainable development in each of our three countries (which are Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia),” he said.

Commenting on the symposium, Ambu said carnivores have neither been at the forefront of interest nor of conservation concern in Borneo.

Nevertheless, the time came that carnivores became the centre of attention and a whole week was spent by the participants and delegates to assess their distribution, habitat requirements and their conservation status and priorities.

He also expressed pleasure that Sabah could host the symposium as a tri-nation event involving Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia.

“Like other animals, carnivores do not know when they cross borders or trans-national boundaries,” he said.

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