Wildlife Conservation Top Priority for Sarawak Government

By Asia Newswire, PRNE
Sunday, February 20, 2011

KUCHING, Sarawak, Malaysia, February 22, 2011 - The Government of Sarawak is intensifying wildlife conservation and
protection activities as part of its commitment to sustainable development.
It is implementing major development plans throughout Sarawak that will
create jobs, improve basic infrastructure and create a high income economy by
2030. In doing so, it has pledged to follow sustainable development policies
and responsibly manage Sarawak's resources for future generations.

Chief Minister Taib Mahmud said: "We must plan our development in a
sustainable manner, to ensure that the prosperity of the State will not only
be sustained but can be handed down to our children and grand-children."

In the last few years, the Government of Sarawak has ramped up its
conservation efforts and has taken significant steps to ensure that the
Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) project, which will see the
development of five major growth nodes stretching 320km, will have as minimum
an impact as possible on the state's biodiversity.

For example, a programme was put in place to save the flora and fauna
affected by the construction of the Bakun Hydro Electric Dam. A total of 349
species of flora, 65 species of fauna, 27 mammals and 38 bird species were
identified and relocated to higher ground. There is now a conservation
programme in place in the Bakun Dam catchment area and it is anticipated that
the growth in eco-tourism will provide economic opportunities for local

Other programmes include the Heart 2 Heart orang-utan campaign which
invites the public to get involved with orang-utan conservation; orang-utan
and turtle adoption; protection of the dugong (a large marine mammal) and the
Irrawaddy dolphin, which are both endangered species; and the Reef Ball
project that will rehabilitate Sarawak's ocean ecosystem by placing
artificial reef modules in the sea to form new habitats. Reef balls have also
proven their effectiveness in protecting turtles in Sarawak. In the early
1990s, between 70 to 100 turtle deaths were reported every year. Now, the
number of deaths has been reduced significantly to less than 15 reported
cases. Reef balls also protect traditional fishing areas and are used to
create recreational diving sites.

The government has also received RM 605,000 (US$192,000) from companies
and organisations within Malaysia and abroad to ensure the success of these
conservation projects.

Sarawak has one of the most extensively protected environments in
Malaysia. The State has 22 national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries and five
nature reserves covering a total of 710,884 hectares. The orang-utan
population lives within totally protected areas at Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife
Sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park. These two sanctuaries cover
approximately 250,000 hectares, amounting to more than three times the size
of Singapore.

Press Office, Email: media at sarawaknet.gov.my, Phone: +60138269132

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