Sabah fights for wildlife

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is recruiting villagers and wildlife rangers for a conservation campaign after attempts to save Sumatran rhino from extinction in Malaysia failed.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Christina Liew, told the Star Online she was not sure what happened to the rhinos over the past decade, but now was not the time to dwell on it but to move forward.

“We will do our best to protect the other remaining wildlife in Sabah, including endangered species such as the banteng (wild buffalo) and pygmy elephants, as well as protected species such as the orangutan monkeys and sun bears,” she told local media.

The campaign focuses on recruiting villagers and local communities partner with wildlife rangers and the Wildlife Department to prevent the killing of protected species in Sabah.

Sabah Wildlife Department has already prepared management plans for most of the endangered and protected species in Sabah.

Sabah does have two rhinos, named Tam and Iman, but they are old and long past the breeding age.

There were plenty of responses on the popular Facebook page Sabah Malaysian Borneo, noted for supporting wildlife conservation.

One post said the state was still struggling to make good efforts really count to protect wildlife and forests in Sabah.

“There is no teaching about deforestation in schools while kids still saw heavy machines cutting timber in our forests and jungle.”

Another posted: We barely have enough rainforest left because certain groups of people own palm oil plantations and want to grow more… So if you can change your landscape and give us back the rainforest… Then yes… Otherwise, you’re just spouting hot air and a stack of tripe.”

But one optimist opined: “We can still make it ok, no more deforestation, cancel replanting of new oil palms, take back the area and let jungle grow back.”