Tuesday, December 7

Boost for wildlife conservation


Chief Minister moots creation of a Wildlife Department to enhance protection of wildlife

Adenan (second right) and Awang Tengah (second left) take a closer look at a drone technology. Wan Junaidi is at right. —Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

Adenan (second right) and Awang Tengah (second left) take a closer look at a drone technology. Wan Junaidi is at right. —Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has proposed the setting up of a Wildlife Department to enhance efficiency in the conservation of wildlife.

“I propose to create a separate wildlife department to focus on dealing with wildlife policies and conservation; this will be for more efficiency.”

He proposed this when opening International Day of Forests themed ‘Forests and Water Sustain Life and Livelihoods’ at the Kuching Waterfront here yesterday.

Adenan had said the government had targeted six million hectares of land in Sarawak as permanent forests and one million hectares as totally protected areas (TPAs).

To date, he said the state had achieved 4.35 million hectares or 72.5 per cent of the state land mass as permanent forests and 0.85 million hectares of TPAs.

“Forest land designated as TPAs which comprise national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are managed under the National Parks and Nature Reserve Ordinance, 1998 and Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1998.

“There are about 3,000 known tree species and 40 per cent of Sarawak plant species are endemic to Borneo. There are 185 mammal species, 530 bird species, 166 snake species, 104 lizard species and 113 amphibian species in the state. There may be more out there not yet identified.”

To preserve more state forests the chief minister said he had made a directive that any forest areas that had been identified as potential TPAs would take precedence over renewal of forest timber licences.

He said that this was to ensure Sarawak would achieve the target of one million hectare of TPAs by 2020.

Thus far, he said Sarawak had 40 national parks, 14 nature reserves and six wildlife sanctuaries with a total area of 853,836 hectares.

To sustain perpetual forest resources, he said it was a must for the Big Six timber companies in the state to have at least one of their Forest Management Units (FMU) to be certified under accredited certification body by 2017.

“As of now, 33 forest timber licencees with an area of about 2.5 million hectares have indicated their intention to be certified. The 60-year tenure, which will be granted as an incentive for the FMU certification, would have to be certified throughout the tenure otherwise their licences will be terminated.”

Adenan said the Forest Department was closely monitoring these committed licensees on their progress towards certification.

The licensees are required to submit their comprehensive Forest Management Plan according to the action plan that has been set by the department.

“We will suspend their operations if they fail to submit their Forest Management Plan accordingly. This will lead to the termination of their forest timber licences if they fail to comply with the directive.

“Let me reiterate that the state government is willing to cooperate with any non-governmental organisations and international bodies in preserving Sarawak’s forests to ensure sustainable exploitation of resources, combating illegal logging and corruption in the timber industry if they are sincere and have the common agenda with us.”

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan were among those present.