Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sabah losing iconic species fast


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah needs to act now to halt the steady loss of its flagship species of which the Proboscis monkey is one, said State Assistant Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming.

"There was a time when rhinoceroses, elephants, bantengs, orangutans, proboscis monkeys, sun bears and clouded leopards roamed wild and abundant throughout the State, but we have to face the fact that we are losing these flagship species on a steadily declining basis," he said when closing the international Workshop on Proboscis Monkey Conservation in Sabah at Narada Hotel, Putatan.

"Their habitats are diminishing as the increasing human population requires even more space, food and, commodities and forests are logged, plantations established, infrastructure like bridges, roads and houses constructed over crucial wildlife habitats , driving the animals into smaller fragmented species."

He said characteristic of conventional development is crushed spaces which have become too small to sustain large populations while small populations have become isolated and unable to join groups as their traditional migrational routes are cut off by human settlements.

"Actually we cannot say that we don't know the downhill trend of the orangutan, proboscis monkey populations and implication of the proposed Sukau bridge and highway because the Sabah Wildlife Department in collaboration with Danau Girang Field Centre and Hutan issue updates of their important research and scientific papers which are published in important local press, social media every month.

"In terms of the Proboscis monkey, we have to face the fact that we are losing this flagship species due to an increase of fragmentation and encroachment of riparian reserves, clearing for example of mangroves habitats like Pitas or shrimp farming," Pan acknowledged.

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