Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trusan Sugut Forest Forest reserve houses iconic wildlife


KOTA KINABALU: Environmen-talists are coming together to restore a mini forest reserve teeming with wildlife in Sabah’s interior.

The Trusan Sugut Forest Reserve (Trusan Sugut FR) in the state’s north-eastern part, which is home to 365 butterfly species, 57 types of amphibians, 103 reptile species, 335 bird varieties and 168 kinds of mammals, was recently elevated from a Class II to Class I (totally protected area) forest reserve.

However, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia says there is still much to be done in terms of restoring the forest.

Its executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the 8,690ha forest reserve was severely degraded in many parts due to human activity.

He said natural regeneration took a long time and usually, the altered conditions did not suit the orang utan and other wildlife.

“We intend to lend nature a helping hand, and urge the public to support our fundraising efforts for Sabah’s wildlife haven,” he said in a statement.

The Trusan Sugut FR houses ico­nic wildlife such as the proboscis monkey, banteng, Bornean orang­utan and Sundaland clouded leo­pard, among others.

In terms of habitat, the forest reserve also boasts of various forest types including endangered ones such as lowland mixed dipterocarp forest, a variant of which is the kapur (limestone) forest, lowland kerangas (heath) forest, lowland peat swamp forest, and lowland freshwater swamp forest.

WWF-Malaysia senior programme officer for orangutan conservation Donna Simon said some parts of Trusan Sugut FR occupied by Bornean orangutan had become severely degraded due to past logging activities and fires.

“We are keen to help the Sabah Forestry Department restore the landscape with native and fast-growing tree species,” she said.

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