Tuesday, January 17, 2017

'Catastrophic consequences' warning on Sukau bridge

Kota Kinabatangan: Objection to Sukau bridge and road remains hot in view of hard scientific data collected over the past one year or more.

Calling it "a bridge to extinction," Belgian geneticist Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of Danau Girang Field Centre, said in a statement Monday that he sees a spectre of Kinabatangan Corridor of Life ending as a corridor of death.

"It is very anti-climatic, especially because the road/bridge project blatantly contradicts two State-endorsed policy documents on wildlife that vow to stop any further habitat fragmentation in Kinabatangan from major infrastructures.

"In the past 12 months, we have clearly demonstrated with scientific facts and data that the bridge and the road directly impact the wildlife populations, particularly the elephants, orang-utans and proboscis monkeys," said Dr Goossens.

The new public road that will subsequently follow the bridge will cut off the last remaining uninhabited route for elephants near Sukau, which will have catastrophic consequences for both the animals and the people, he argued.

"Major conflicts will arise, deaths from elephant attacks on people, elephants shot dead or poisoned will occur.

"Moreover, we have just lost three bull elephants from poaching. This will increase easy penetration of poachers into protected forests, especially of ivory traders, and increase the pressure on the elephant population in Sabah," said Goossens. He said a combination of a bridge and an aggressive highway will cost Sabah dearly in the eventual loss of one the largest and richest cargoes of wildlife known.

"Everybody knows the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is home to one of the largest populations of elephant and one of the largest population of proboscis monkeys, 800 orang-utans are still roaming free in its forest.

"Are we ready to sacrifice 10pc of Sabah's elephant population located in the most strategic and world famous eco-wildlife destination, 30pc of Sabah's proboscis monkey and 10pc of Sabah orang-utan population?"

Goossens said he found the contradictions that threaten to kill a proverbial "goose that lays the golden egg" most inconceivable.

"At a time when eco-tourism in Sabah is flamboyant and is becoming one of the top sources of income to the State, are we ready to blow this massive opportunity of sustainable source of income for many generations to come?" he asked.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: 'Catastrophic consequences' warning on Sukau bridge