Tuesday, June 25

Sabah losing flagship wildlife species – Masidi

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KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is losing her flagship species, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

According to him, there are now less than 11,000 orangutans, 6,000 proboscis monkeys, 2,000 elephants, 500 bantengs and 40 rhinos in Sabah.

On the other hand, the human population in the State is increasing.

“We are 3.2 million today in Sabah. In 2025, it is predicted that we will be 4.2 million, an increase of 30 percent. I don’t want to think that at the same time we will have a decrease of 30 percent in our wild populations: 7,700 orangutans, 4,200 proboscis monkeys, 1,400 elephants, 350 bantengs and 28 rhinos,” he said at the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Colloquium 2012 yesterday.

Masidi also expressed his disgust over the killing of 5,000 kilograms of pangolins that were smuggled out of Sabah last month.

He added that he had instructed his permanent secretary to conduct an immediate probe on the issue and said that poaching was a big problem.

“We need to educate the people and address the corruption within the system. It is time for us to act and not just talk,” he said.

Meanwhile, the event also saw the signing of four memorandums of understanding between the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), WWF-Malaysia, The Rhino and Forest Fund and SOS Elefanti, yesterday.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) and KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd which was represented by Area General Operation Manager Mr Ngu Ngiong Hieng.