Monday, August 10, 2015

Riverside lodge in Lahad Datu offers visitors sightings of wildlife

THE Sabah Forestry Department is venturing into the hospitality sector by opening a nature-oriented resort at a logged over area in the state’s east coast Lahad Datu district.

Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the resort was scheduled to be opened in three months and the department was negotiating with state-owned Yayasan Sabah to operate it.

Despite being located at a logged over area that has since been re-forested, he said the mid-range 40-room Kawag Riverside Lodge was surrounded by more wildlife than the pristine Danum Valley conservation area.

“You find more deer, tambadau or wild buffaloes and elephants in disturbed forests where food supply is more plentiful,” he said at the department’s headquarters here.

Mannan said the resort was about an 80-minute drive from the Lahad Datu airport.

He said the resort showed the success of the forest rehabilitation initiatives being undertaken by the department at the Ulu Segama-Malua region jointly with various entities including the Sime Darby Foundation, Yayasan Sabah and WWF.

Mannan said the opening of the resort was also another approach by the department to diversify its revenue sources in noting that timber royalties were declining.

“For the first time, from this year, the timber harvested from three plantations will overtake those from natural forests,” he said.