SANTUBONG: Pulau Salak is set to have a dolphin research centre to add to the uniqueness of this century old island village.
Pantai Damai assemblyman Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi said the centre will draw tourists to the village.
“We can witness for ourselves the Irrawaddy dolphins migrating from Indochina because according to researchers, the waters here provide a suitable ecosystem for the species,” he said during the Durian Festival yesterday.
According to Dr Rahman, besides researchers from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), many researchers from overseas come to the village to conduct research on dolphins.
Many tourists have participated in the homestay programme to see the rare species swimming in waters near the village usually around 4pm to 5pm everyday.
“That is one of the main attractions of this island alongside eco-tourism,” he said.
He appealed to the government to develop the island which has potential in the tourism industry.
“The journey to the island from the city takes only about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, other islands surrounding Kuching take about one hour to reach. That is why this will be an ideal destination for tourists who do not wish to travel long distance to have a taste of island life,” he said.
Dr Rahman said the island’s ecosystem is among the least polluted in the state.
“There are no heavy industries or logging in the area,” he said.
“Historically, the island has a lot of caves that remain unchartered,” he revealed.
He said the State Museum Department has surveyed the area but dolphin watching remains the most popular activity for tourists.