Monday, July 25, 2016

Six marine parks in Sabah as sanctuaries for sharks

KUDAT: Six marine parks managed by Sabah Parks have been declared as shark sanctuaries to ensure the shark population is protected.

Minister of Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that it is part of the state government’s effort to conserve shark as the federal government refused to make amendments on the Fisheries Act to ban shark finning.

“This is very important in the context of preserving shark population although we failed to get the relevant federal government’s ministry to agree on banning shark finning,” he said when met at the launching ceremony of Tun Mustapha Marine Park by Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman here yesterday.

However, he said that initial enforcement may not result in punitive measures but more on educating the offenders. “We would start the initiative of the creation of shark sanctuary by educating the people so that they too have ownership of the programme. At the end, the success or the failure of the programme depends on how much the people feel that it belongs to them.

“The most effective way to implement the sanctuary is to educate the local community, so the initial enforcement may not result in punitive measure but some extensive education and we want the locals, the fishermen to be with us, i.e. we are in the same team,” he added.

Masidi stressed education as an important part of conservation as he admittedly said that part of the reasons why the protection of wildlife failed is the relevant authorities’ failure to educate the villagers on the need for sustainable way of keeping the wild animals in the wild.

Therefore, he said that the success of any enforcement is not because of the laws in place but rather when the people feel they are part of the system.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Six marine parks in Sabah as sanctuaries for sharks

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Tun Mustapha Park - Huge tourism impact

KUDAT: The Tun Mustapha Park which was gazetted as the largest marine protected area in the region is expected to create a huge impact on Sabah’s tourism and aquaculture industries, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said the proclamation which involved an area of 898,762.76 hectares covering the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas, not only proved the state government’s commitment to preserving and conserving Sabah’s natural surroundings but also showed its seriousness in addressing socio-economic development for the benefit of the people.

As such Musa said it was hoped that with the gazetting, various agencies, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Sabah Fisheries Department, Fisheries Association and the local communities would cooperate in the sustainable management of marine biodiversity in Sabah waters, especially in Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu.

“With the gazetting too Malaysia’s commitment towards the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme (CBD-UNEP) to protect at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas before 2020 will undoubtedly be achieved,” he said when launching the Tun Mustapha Park, here yesterday.

The Tun Mustapha Park which was declared a marine park under Sabah Parks Enactment 1984 (Amendment 2007) on May 19 is the ninth park to come under the Sabah Parks Management. It is the largest marine park in Sabah and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the gazetting was a historic achievement for Sabah and his ministry had been given the trust to see that the preservation of the marine park was managed more efficiently.

He said the goal and expectation of establishing the park was to protect marine and coastal ecosystems and at the same time improve the fishing industry as well as create more opportunities for the Sabah tourism industry which would in return benefit the local community.


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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre - Entering the great apes’ domain

SOON enough, after I arrived, I could hear branches rustling, and as I looked up towards the sky, I saw dark shapes moving high among the forest canopy.

They were ‘the men of the forest’ — the orangutans of  Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre — slowly making their way towards the feeding platform near the information centre.

The platform is located at a clearing area against a huge tree, about 50 metres from the roped-off observation centre.

It was so amazing coming face to face with the endangered orangutans of Borneo. These graceful, red-haired great apes are really active, alternating between eating, climbing and swinging across the suspended ropes strung between the trees, leading to the feeding platform.

On the platform were some food — bananas and sweet potatoes. Three of the primates had shown up. There was seven-year-old Endu, Delima’s youngest offspring. After being orphaned, Endu was cared for by her sister, Selina.

Making her way to the platform, Endu was closely followed by Selina and one other relative — Anaku.

Endu was really cute and playful, even taking some time to pose for professional and amateur photographers among tourists while descending to the platform.

When I turned to look, I saw her munching some food before stuffing her mouth with more food, especially bananas.

When Selina and Anaku clambered onto the platform, Endu climbed back up to the rope to eat by herself.

Anaku, 10, is the first offspring of Analisa and Seduku’s first grandchild, making him the first of the third generation of orangutans at the centre. His name is a combination of Ana from Analisa (mother) and Ku from Seduku (grandmother).

It is said since a very young age, he has shown remarkable jungle skills and has now grown to be an independent young male, bravely venturing into the forest of Semenggoh on his own.

Selina, born in 2004, is the first daughter of Delima, and said to have inherited her mother’s unique sense of style.

The drama-queen princess has now transformed into a very popular belle among the male orangutans and is currently Ritchie’s girlfriend.

After the death of Delima, Selina has reportedly taken on the role of mother to her young sister, Endu.

Then, we proceeded to the platform inside the park, and having her meal was 20-year-old Analisa, the first offspring of Seduku and the first female orangutan born in Semenggoh.

She became a mother at age of 10 to Anaku in 2006 and gave birth the second time to Digital Guro in 2012.

Her mother Seduku is the ‘Grand Old Lady’ of Semengoh and a grandmother now at 55.

Her playful nature is akin to Delima’s and she is often seen having a tumble on the ground and swinging among the trees.


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Tun Mustapha Park, Malaysia's largest marine park, officially launched

KUDAT: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman launched Tun Mustapha Park (TMP), Malaysia's biggest marine park, here today.

The park, spanning approximately 898762.76 hectares, promises better marine protection and conservation in this part of the world.

It was declared a protected area under the Sabah Parks Enactment 1984 by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Tun Juhar on May 19.

Speaking to the local community and tourists, Musa said the success of the gazettement was part of the state government's efforts in advancing the people's socio-economy through various sectors.

"This is a historical event for us. With the establishment of this large marine park, Malaysia's commitment in the Convention of Biological Diversity, United Nations Environment Programme to protect at least 10 per cent of the marine and coastal area can be achieved by 2020."

Present at the launch of the TMP were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun and assistant minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, and State Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

In 2003, the TMP was proposed by the Sabah government shortly after it was recognised as a globally-significant priority marine conservation area.

The marine park is located off the districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu and Pitas right up to the Balabac Strait.

It is also is situated within the Coral Triangle which is a six million sq km marine area that directly sustains and protects more than 120 million people in coastal communities across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

With its declaration, the size of protected marine parks in Sabah now stretches to about two million hectares along with the Tun Sakaran Marine Park and the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.


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Promote Borneo Cultural Festival to attract foreign tourists

SIBU:  Assistant Minister for Science Research and Biotechnology Dr Annuar Rapaee wants the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) to attract more foreign tourists, mirroring the success of Kuching’s Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF).

In giving this suggestion, Annuar reasoned that BCF had come of age; hence, should no longer be confined to just locals. He noted there were several factors to look into for the festival to move in that direction.

The three that he highlighted were the need for good publicity to introduce the event to foreign tourists, the performances that needed to be of high standard to entice visitors from outside Sibu, and air connectivity.

“There are not many foreigners who know about BCF. The festival is into its 13th year, and has come to a very mature stage.

“So, I think it is high time for BCF to open up in a big way so as to attract more foreigners to come. The RWMF has attracted a lot of foreign tourists, and I am sure BCF will also be able to do so,” the Nangka assemblyman told reporters after officiating at the opening of Malay/Melanau pavilion here on Friday night.


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