Wednesday, January 29

Forestry investigating tours of Lanjak Entimau

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KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry is currently gathering information regarding the alleged encroachment of the Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary by tour agencies and their clients.

Its chief executive officer Datu Ali Yusop said in a statement yesterday that permission to enter the strict conservation area would only be given to researchers and selected persons whom the controller of wild life has determined to have legitimate business with the management of sanctuaries.

“We hope that all members of the public, as well as the tour operators are aware of this law. These areas have been identified as critical wildlife habitats and are highly sensitive.

“We are preserving them by ensuring that no human activities other than permissible research are conducted there. We would advise all tour operators that advertise tour packages in Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary boundaries to stop those advertisements immediately,” he said of recent events where certain parties had offered Lanjak Entimau ecotourism activities and tour packages via their blogs.

He stressed that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators as Wild Life Sanctuaries in Sarawak are totally protected areas under which Section 24(1) of the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998 stipulates: “No person shall enter a Wild Life Sanctuary unless he first obtains a written permission from the Controller of Wild Life thereof authorising him to do so.”

Those contravening the Section would be liable to one year in prison and a fine of RM5,000.

Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary comprises a large part of hilly terrains between Batang Rajang in the north and
Batang Lupar in the south of Sarawak.

It is home to the endangered orangutan Pongo pygmaeus and rare Rafflesia, as well as other totally protected species
such as Bornean gibbons and hornbills.

Also found in Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary are 21 species of flora which are critically endangered, while another 20 are endangered.

Three mammals and nine bird species found in the area are vulnerable.

Because of its outstanding characteristics, Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary was selected by the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) in 1991 for an in-situ nature conservation project with a view to develop it into a model for biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of genetic resources for forestry and community development.

Recently, an area downriver of Nanga Bloh on the Katibas River has been gazetted as an extension of Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary.

Sarawak Forestry also urged the public to report any offence, especially illegal entry and activities in the Wild Life Sanctuaries or any other Totally Protected Areas such as national parks and nature reserves.