Premier: Bukit Siol Nature Reserve poised to be latest protected area in Kuching

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Aini (second left) presents a memento to Len Talif. Ratsimbazafy is at left.

KUCHING (Aug 20): The Bukit Siol Nature Reserve here is poised to be the newest protected area in the city, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said this new nature reserve will be home to the oriental pied hornbills, as part of the Sarawak government’s continuous conservation efforts.

“Creating more national parks, nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries as a permanent conservation initiative are some of the plans we have for the future of Sarawak.

“We currently have 67 protected areas both on land and in the seas. Our totally protected areas (TPA) currently are about 870,000 hectares (more than 1,000 times bigger than Singapore) whereas our marine parks are over 1.2 million hectares.

“We aimed to have over one million hectares of our land mass under TPA. Our newest upcoming protected area will be Bukit Siol Nature Reserve in Kuching. It is just across this venue, perhaps a five-minute drive away. This nature reserve will be home to the oriental pied hornbills,” he said when launching the International Primatological Society – Malaysian Primatological Society (IPS-MPS) Joint Meeting 2023 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here today.

His text of speech was delivered by Natural Resources and Urban Development Deputy Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh.

Abang Johari said Sarawak had adopted climate-friendly practices such as promoting renewable energy sources and putting in place efficient waste management systems in the management of national parks.

He said Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an area of Sarawak’s interest now and presently, two companies have registered for carbon project in the states.

“As Sarawak is embracing technology, our various agencies are using satellite imagery, LiDAR and even the newer fixed-wing drones with improved image captures such as hyperspectral to look at carbon stocking to field enforcement and protection,” he said.

He said the introduction of new technologies, concepts, requirements and data collections had heightened the importance of capacity-building in Sarawak’s conservation efforts.

Through training programmes and workshops, he said the state hoped to empower its staff with the expertise needed to harness these advancements effectively.

“As we continue to push the boundaries of conservation, our skilled workforce will play a pivotal role in safeguarding our natural heritage for generations to come,” Abang Johari added.

He was glad to see more than 500 international delegates from 60 countries attending the week-long event, with 500 oral and posters presentation to be deliberated and six keynote speakers sharing their experiences across the various themes.

“This conference brings together primatologists and experts from all corners of the world, uniting our collective passion for the conservation of these remarkable creatures that share our planet,” he said.

Also present were International Primatological Society president Dr Jonah Ratsimbazafy and organising chairperson Dr Aini Hasanah Abd Mutalib.