KOTA KINABALU: Three Sabah-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed their support for the move by the Sabah Forestry Department to re-gazette 183,000ha of heavily logged Class 2 Commercial Forest into Class 1 Protection Forest, which makes it a protected area.
Responding to an announcement recently that the Department had decided to convert the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve and the northern part of Gunung Rara Forest Reserve to a protected area, Scientific Director of HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme Dr Marc Ancrenaz said: "This re-gazettement will serve to secure habitat for Malaysia's largest orang-utan population, as well as for a wide range of biological diversity".
"HUTAN has been assisting in surveys and monitoring of orang-utans in this area for the past few years, so we are especially pleased to see this move by the State Government," said Marc said in a joint statement, here Friday.
Founder of LEAP (Land Empowerment Animals People) Cynthia Ong said in the same statement that nationally and regionally, Sabah was emerging as a leader in pushing the boundaries in management of natural ecosystem services, and for treating forests as stores of water, carbon and biodiversity rather than just as timber sources.
"We still have major problems and issues to address, but this is the sort of change that we do want to see," she said.
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