Setting up a fund for hornbill conservation

BINTULU: The state government is to set up a hornbill conservation fund or foundation for the conservation and study of the bird which is our state emblem.

Environment Assistant Minister Datu Len Talip Salleh told reporters the fund would enable the authority and community to work together on the bird which was presently given less attention than orang utans, dolphins and turtles.

“If we want to adopt the bird as the state icon, we must have expertise and knowledge of it,” he said at a press conference after officiating at the Sarawak Hornbill Workshop 2012 at a leading hotel in Bintulu yesterday.

“The funds will enable us to study the bird and how best to conserve the species for its future survival,” he added.

The Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department revealed that the government had allocated 1 million hectares of land under Totally Protected Area (TPA) for hornbills.

But future threat could arise from the cultural aspect of some communities that use their feathers as accessories on their costumes.

He believed the fund would enable authorities like Sarawak Forestry or the Forest Department to impart knowledge to wildlife rangers and educate communities living in proximity to the bird for the purpose of conservation.

He said the bird was still in existence but it called for trained eyes to spot their habitat.

Len disclosed that all eight species in Sarawak were to be found in places like Santubong peninsula, Samusan and Tanjung Dato National Park.

On migratory birds that make a stopover in the state, he assured that the state government would not allow development in their habitat, but would allocate and gazette more land for them.

Such migratory birds are commonly found and sighted in Bako National Park and Pulau Bruit in Mukah.

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