Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nestle promotes environment conservation

Planting Trees (example)

KEPONG: The planting of over 100,000 trees under Nestle Project RiLeaf is a clear demonstration of Nestle’s continuing commitment towards greening our environment.

It is one of the key initiatives to commemorate its 100th anniversary in Malaysia.

Nestle Project RiLeaf is a riparian reforestation initiative to help the sustainability of one of the world’s richest ecosystems by creating a landscape where nature, people and agriculture (oil palm) can co-exist harmoniously.

The three-year initiative kick-started in 2011 and leverages on Nestle’s commercial agriculture experience and expertise to speed up riparian reforestation of 2,400 hectares of land along the lower Kinabatangan River.

The project aims to unite people, nature and agriculture by their common source of vitality i.e. water.

“This project reflects our global philosophy of Creating Shared Value, in addition to saving the environment. It will stimulate the local economy by creating jobs and generating income for the local community who are directly and indirectly involved in the project.

“We are also looking at how we can engage with our palm oil stakeholders in the Nestle supply chain to have a meaningful and positive sharing of value for the benefit of all,” remarked   Peter R Vogt, managing director of Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad.

Source: Borneo Post

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fujitsu helps regenerate rainforest in Sabah

Borneo Rainforest

 SHAH ALAM:  Japanese technology firm Fujitsu have planted 1,000 trees at the Eco-Forest Park at Kinarut, Sabah, this year with the help of other groups in an effort to regenerate the tropical rainforest in Borneo.

Individuals from Fujitsu Group as well as the  Japanese embassy,  Kinabalu Japanese School, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and Sabah Forestry Development Authority planted the saplings from Nov 23-Dec 2.

Fujitsu Malaysia marketing director Michele Lum said the forest regeneration project focuses on replanting a specific indigenous rainforest species known as the Dipterocarp, which grows slowly but is being cut down rapidly for the manufacture of plywood.

Since 2002, Fujitsu has planted 37,500 Dipterocarp saplings at the 150-hectare Eco-Forest Park with the assistance of Sabah Forestry Development Authority and the Japan International Forestry Promotion and Corporation Center.

“The survival rate of nursery trees we planted is 48% as of June 2012. Our continual efforts can increase the survival rate by planting new seedings in the areas where trees have died,” said Lum.

She said the  project is part of Fujitsu’s long term corporate social responsibility commitment in Malaysia to preserve the environment and its rich biodiversity.

Lum added that Fujitsu has also started surveying the wildlife in the area periodically to assess the degree of biodiversity in the Eco-Forest Park as it regenerates.

The Sabah Forestry Development Authority is attempting to revitalise the rainforest with tree-planting technologies and technical support provided by the Japan International Forestry Promotion and Corporation Centre.

Source: Selangor Times

Musa stresses sustainability in oil palm production

Chief Minister Musa Aman
Chief Minister Musa Aman
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman urged plantation operators to take appropriate measures to protect wildlife as many important sites for biodiversity lie close to to plantations.

"Let us all work together to find the best solutions as we move forward in the palm oil sector while keeping ourselves mindful of biodiversity conservation," he said in his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin at the 123rd Annual Dinner of the East Malaysia Planters' Association (EMPA) on Saturday in Tawau.

Musa reminds the planters that palm oil remains a key contributor to the country's economic growth and has helped the government's effort to eradicate poverty in rural areas.

Palm oil figures strongly in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and is one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) that will spearhead Malaysia's transformation into a high-income nation by 2020.

Musa stressed that this would be achieved through the implementation of entry point projects (EPP) that will cover the entire palm oil chain - ranging from upstream productions to downstream processing and expansions.

According to Musa, the issue of sustainability has become the focus of consideration in the production of commodities in the global arena. This is especially true in the production of palm oil. Global markets, particularly markets in the European Union and the United States demand that palm oil must be sustainably produced.

Musa hoped that more oil palm growers would be mindful of sustainability in palm oil production.

"I also wish to encourage smaller estates to similarly undertake efforts under the Roundtable on Sustainable of Oil Palm (RSPO) guideline. I hope EMPA members are responsive to these sustainability requirements, and are making progress in producing certified sustainable palm oil," Musa said.

RSPO is a non-profit, market-led association that aims to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products through credible global standards.

On the subject of mechanisation, Musa pointed out that there is an urgency in the industry to accelerate work on farm mechanisation in order to reduce the sector's dependence on foreign labour, as the supply of foreign labour may become limited in the future.

"Within this context, I strongly urge EMPA members to adopt proactive measures to meet the projected reduction of manpower, and to invest in mechanization," he said.

Musa also reminded plantation owners to pay attention on the welfare of their employees, saying that this will help attract the locals to work in plantations.
Source: Insight Sabah

Thursday, December 27, 2012

CM: A RM2 billion Lobster Farm in the offing

Panulirus species (spiny lobsters) also known locally as King lobster
Panulirus species (spiny lobsters) also known locally as King lobster

During the third day of State Assembly question and answer session, the State Assemblyman for Kunak, Nilwan Kabang asked the Chief Minister on the progress of the proposed lobster farming project in Pulau Timbun Mata in Kunak District, a joint undertaking between Inno Fisheries, a subsidiary company of Yayasan Sabah, and Aquafarm Inc from America.

According to project sources the proposed joint venture involves an investment of RM 2 billion and is expected to generate 20,000 jobs. In reply the Chief Minister confirmed that the project will be carried out on a 9,300 hectare coastal area in Pulau Timbun Mata, Semporna. He said the State Cabinet approved the land for the project in March 2012. He said the lobster farm would require some 6000 hectares to accommodate the 18000 or so lobster cages plus additional area for related onshore and offshore facilities.

To be carried out by Integrated Lobsters Aquaculture Park (ILAP) in joint venture between Inno Fisheries SDN BHD and Aquafarm Inc from America the project includes lobster aquaculture for commercial production, research and development, contract farming and training as well as mussels farming as the food source for the lobsters.

The Chief Minister further explained that the inclusion of  contract farming was to allow , the local fishermen as well as small and medium-sized companies  to do business with ILAP. In this way, local aquaculture farmers and companies who join the program would gain access to the technology and support system for lobster farming and marketing. Musa further disclosed that the West Coast area is found  to be the most suitable area for the production of lobster seeds. He said an application for funding has been submitted for consideration under National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) for agriculture.  

Source: InsightSabah

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sabah forest management gets acknowledgement

<b>Image and environment:</b> Galante and Emban at the photographic exhibition in Kota Kinabalu.
Galante and Emban at the photographic exhibition in Kota Kinabalu

Sabah's forest management practices are getting international acknowledgement with a Scottish university researcher saying that it is making a difference in efforts to minimize climate change.

Michael V. Galante, a PhD student of Edinburgh University said his thesis research showed that Sabah was “leading the chart” in sustainable forests management. He found that the Sabah government was doing great in its forests management, pro-active policy management and was a recommended place if people want to have a clean and great environment to work in. His research was on climate change mitigation through reduced-impact logging and he has been in Sabah for over 10 years. Galante said the impact of logging in the state had taken a charge on the environment with an increase in carbon monoxide. Fortunately, the environment was restored to a balance through the strict state government and the forestry department policies. The environment is protected by introducing the forest certification, guidelines on reduced-impact logging and having sustainable forest management. Meanwhile, Datuk Michael Emban, permanent secretary of Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry said about 60% of land in Sabah was protected. This showed how sincere the state government was in forest and environment conservation, he added.

Praise for Sabah's move to ban shark hunting

Shark fins

KOTA KINABALU: The federal government lauds Sabah’s move to ban shark hunting for its fins.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Chua Tee Yong praised the effort of the state government in protecting the ecosystem here by initiating a proper legislation to eventually ban the consumption of shark fins.

“The action taken shows just how committed the state government is in its environmental protection and conservation efforts,” he said after opening the fifth International Symposium for the Development of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for sustainable agriculture in Asia and Africa here yesterday.

Although it was still a personal choice for consumers whether or not to consume shark fins, Chua disagreed with the way the fins were removed and hopes more people would not consume shark fins.

Chua also said while the state government of Sabah has acted on the matter, the ban on hunting sharks for its fins may not be feasible in the peninsula for now.

“The ministry cannot make a decision whether or not to ban shark hunting because we have to discuss with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

“And, we also have to present papers to the Cabinet before any decision is made,” he said.

Earlier it has been reported that Sabah was likely to be the first state to ban shark hunting for their fins in a bid to protect the marine creature.

The state government is in the midst now studying the legal aspects of the proposed ban which would require amendments to the State Wildlife Protection Ordinance.

Sabah’s Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun had been quoted as saying the situation is becoming critical for this marine creature as only 20% of its original population is still left in the country.

“From my last briefing, there are only four areas in Sabah where sharks can be spotted. And, if we don’t do something about it, the population may disappear from our waters completely,” he said.

Masidi also said he was told by experts that the sharks no longer existed in Peninsular Malaysia waters.
He said the state attorney-general is now studying the matter.

The state government, Masidi added, had also taken shark fin soup off the menu of its official functions.

Source: New Sabah Times

Friday, December 21, 2012

Modernise agricultural training centres - Yahya

Photo example

Agricultural training centres in Sabah have been urged to apply information communications technology (ICT) and modern mechanization to provide trainees with a facilitative learning environment.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, Datuk Yahya Hussin said it is an important move to produce more youths as agricultural entrepreneurs.The application of mechanisation and modern technology is in line with the changing times and shall be part of future training programmes to help agricultural entrepreneurs to face the challenges and obstacles in this industry. Yahya also urged the Agriculture Department to use the Blue Ocean Strategy in its human capital development programmes either in collaboration with other government agencies or the private sector. He said the government was committed in boosting the growth of the agriculture sector by enhancing training and skill in both agriculture and the agro-based industry.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sukau, a model village for environmental awareness

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

A decade ago, French Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), HUTAN began their ground breaking work on orang-utan populations surviving in secondary forest. 

Little did they realise at that time that they would end up having a long-lasting effect on the local community of Sukau.

In 2008, the villagers of Kampung Sukau located by the iconic Kinabatangan River concluded their five-day celebration of World Environment Day.

In his speech, Sukau Assemblymen, Saddi Abdul Rahman spoke about the successes of the local sons and daughters of this village in Sukau who now travel overseas to partake in conferences and even give presentations on their work in Sukau.

"The youth in this village used to have very few employment opportunities and they would have had to move to Sandakan and other bigger towns. Today they work in Sukau as researchers and tour guides. Some of them have also travelled overseas to the United States, Japan, Indonesia and other countries to share their experiences," he said.

Saddi Rahman said this in his speech which was read by Kinabatangan assistant district officer Arisin Arifin at the conclusion of the celebrations in Kampung Sukau.

In 1998, HUTAN established the Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project (KOCP) and hired local villagers as research assistants.

In the beginning the locals were doubtful and language was a barrier for Dr. Isabelle Lackman-Ancrenaz and Dr. Marc Ancrenaz, however, they persevered and both parties learnt well from each other.

The French researchers today speak fluent Bahasa Malaysia and the local community is made up of now capable researchers, entrepreneurs, guides, videographers, GIS specialist and most of all, they are passionate conservationists.

"In the 10 years that HUTAN has been here, they have successfully provided guidance for the local community, and today we have a community-based and run Red Ape Encounters. HUTAN has succeeded in making the local community partners in their work and today the work carried out by the local community is recognised and appreciated by the Wildlife and Forestry Departments," stated Saddi in his speech.

The five-day event was jointly organized by HUTAN, together with the villagers of Sukau, Red Ape Encounters, the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and the Sabah Environmental Education Network (SEEN).

This is the second year running that World Environment Day has been celebrated in Kampung Sukau. And the reception it has received here is a definite indication that this community truly does appreciate their natural heritage.

The forest surrounding their village is home to the orang-utan, Borneo pygmy elephant (found only in Sabah and on the north-eastern Kalimatan border), proboscis monkeys and other unique wildlife.

Children took part in a numerous challenges and games while several NGOs and government agencies set up exhibition booths at the event.

Source: New Sabah Times

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hard for all states to ban shark hunting, says Tee Yong


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s ban against shark hunting is laudable but may not be feasible for the rest of the country for now, said Deputy Agri-culture and Agro-based Ind­ustry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong.

He said this was because such a ban would involve various authorities, unlike that in Sabah, where the State Tourism, Culture and Envi­ron­ment Ministry had announced the move.

“We cannot make such a decision on our own. We need to discuss with the other agencies, including the Natu­ral Resources and Envi­ronment Ministry,” he said after opening an international symposium on the development of integrated pest management for sustainable agriculture in Asia and Africa yesterday.

“It will also involve presenting papers in the Cabinet before any decision is taken,” added Chua.

Sabah’s ban against the hunting of sharks for their fins showed the state’s commitment in environmental protection and conservation efforts, he said.

However, Chua said it was still a personal choice of consumers in the peninsula when it came to eating shark’s fin.

Earlier, Chua said sustainable pest management and control systems were necessary for the longevity of the agricultural industry.

Source: The Star

Sabah forests pulling in tourists

Tourists rediscover and experience nature and wildlife at their best in Sabah.

WITH its timber revenue declining as it focuses on reversing the trend of deforestation, Sabah is turning to the tourism sector to displace forestry as one of the main contributors to the  economy.

The state recognises that protecting the forest is crucial and runs parallel with efforts to promote tourism, considering that discerning tourists will prefer places where environmental conservation is given priority.

It was reported that the state government expected annual revenue from timber production to be less than RM100 million a year over the next 20 years with timber production from natural forests expected to decline during that period.

Between 1970 and 2000, the state depended heavily on timber revenue to support development, which resulted in the reduction of the productive capacity of forests.

Such dependence, coupled with past logging practices that were not environmentally-friendly and compounded by forest fires, resulted in the degradation of Sabah's forests and prompted the state government to enforce strict management of the forests using proper methods, including practices certified by international organisations.

All these efforts have helped placed Sabah in the global map with international non-governmental organisations acknowledging the state's seriousness in protecting its forests and conserve the environment.

This, in turn, has generated interests among foreign visitors, as evident from the increasing number of tourist arrivals.

This year, Sabah has set a target of 2.93 million visitors with an estimated receipt of RM5.2 billion.

The total arrival of visitors to Sabah for the first half of this year was 1,372,525, an increase of 1.7 per cent compared with the same period last year.

With this growth, Sabah should meet its target of tourist arrivals for this year. For next year, Sabah is targeting the arrival of 3.1 million visitors with an estimated receipt of RM5.5 billion.

To achieve this, the government is stepping up efforts to encourage airline companies to operate more international flights to Sabah, be they direct, scheduled chartered or chartered flights.

The state government's commitment is paying off with four new direct flights to Sabah from Shanghai, Hong Kong, Osaka and Perth commencing operations this month.

With the introduction of the new flights, Sabah now boasts of being directly connected with 13 international cities, including Shenzen, Manila, Jakarta, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Bandar Seri Begawan and Tarakan.

These cities are serviced by 11 airlines, among them Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Royal Brunei Airlines, Dragon Air, Silk Air, Cebu Pacific, Aseana, Korean Air, Tiger Air and MASwings. The flights from the 13 cities offer more than 18,000 seats weekly.

The increasing number of flights operating to and from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport have made and positioned the airport as the busiest after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

It is heartening that the success boils down to the fact that the tourism industry in Sabah follows the direction of "Responsible Conservation Tourism", a concept that allows tourists to re-discover and experience nature and wildlife.

Known as "the land below the wind", Sabah has unique nature-tourism qualities as the state is rich in biodiversity, contributing to Malaysia being one of the 12 mega-biodiversity hot spots in the world.

As a rapidly developing state, Sabah is aware and concerned about environmental protection and ensures that these aspects are taken into consideration and integrated in development planning and exploitation of natural resources in line with sustainable development principles.

Kudos to the state government led by chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman for going all out to protect Sabah's forests and natural environment because it is not only an asset to the tourism industry, it also supports agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Source: NST

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rehabilitation programme rehabilitated 35 orang utan in Malaysia since 1995

Orang utan
Thirty-five orang utans have been rehabilitated at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort's Nature Reserve conservation centre of Malaysia since its inception in 1995.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Dr Laurentius Ambu said the rehabilitation programme was complementary efforts conducted by the department's Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan. These orang utans spend their first two parts of the rehabilitation programme at the resort's nature reserve before being sent back to Sepilok for the their last part of  programme. A veterinarian on 24-hour call is available at the Sepilok centre because the rehabilitation programme is being strictly supervised. Medical checks were also done on all the orang utans in Rasa Ria, he added. The programme which undertaken at the resort's nature reserve is although much smaller in scale compared to Sepilok, has given opportunity for the public and schoolchildren to experience first-hand the rehabilitation process. Representatives from NGOs who have attended the recent conservation workshop were als pleased with the conservation efforts.

Monday, December 17, 2012

RM1m for conservation of bantengs

Danau Girang Field Centre

KOTA KINABALU: The Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) recently received a RM1 million funding from Sime Darby Foundation for conservation and management of bantengs in Sabah.

The project will be in collaboration with several partners including the Forestry Department, Sabah Foundation and Cardiff University.

And so far the Foundation has committed close to RM80 million for its Big9 programme – which is to protect and conserve nine endangered animals, most of which are indigenous to Malaysia.

The animals are the sun bear, orangutan, Asian elephant, Sunda clouded leopard, hornbill, banteng, proboscis monkey, sumatran rhino and Malayan tiger.

The total commitment from the Foundation for its environment pillar is over RM111 million over many years. The project aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of this extremely endangered species of wild cattle in Sabah,” said wildlife director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu.

“It will be a three-year project during which we will try to locate the remaining populations of banteng across Sabah and assess their conservation status and longevity in their current locations,” said Dr Benoit Goossens, director of the Danau Girang Field Centre and leader of the project.

Dr Goossens said to achieve the objective, they would use the only record of banteng distribution available in an unpublished report entitled “A Faunal survey of Sabah” that was compiled by WWF in 1982.

The report included a distribution map of bantengs in Sabah and estimated population sizes.

“Recognition of remnant banteng populations is critical to identify the extent of the decline which has probably occurred over the past 30 years as a result of deforestation, land conversion and human population expansion.

“It is also crucial for identifying connectivity issues compromising the genetic integrity of the species,” Dr Goossens said, adding that camera trap grids would be set up in those areas to capture banteng photographs and estimate habitat occupancy.

And, he also said education and capacity building had always been a priority for the Sime Darby Foundation, and as such, the project would also include training of one Malaysian Master student and two local field research assistants.

“At the end of the project we will organise an international workshop on the conservation status of bantengs in Sabah to highlight the current status of the species, and discuss mitigation possibilities as well as to launch an action plan for bantengs in Sabah,” Dr Laurentius said.

Source: New Sabah Times

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (BSBCC) - Sabah

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is the first of its conservation centre which rehabilitate/rescue the bornean sun bear. It is the first and only (at this moment) in south east asia region (of course in our country as well). As for now, the conservation centre will be schedule to open in due time (most likely mid of next year. We will keep you update once the conservation centre is open to public. Stay tune!).

Nevertheless , Nature Core would like to thank Eileen Chiang who have the privileged to enter this wonderful conservation center for the first hand to be reviewed and guided by the man (aka Founder) behind this Project, Mr Wong Siew Te (We also known him as "Papa Bear") and his wonderful, dedicated team behind this project. Thanks to BSBCC for giving Eileen Chiang this priviledge to be there to witness this wonderful conservation work and Eileen Chiang for sharing her experience at the centre to us. Kudos!

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) - there are still some upgrading work to be done. Once complete, this center will provide state of the art facilities, view point/platform and center to view and photograph the sun bear. Besides, there might be information centre for the sunbear as well. 
The "WOW" factor for this centre - its the platform. Great place to view sunbears (those that BSBCC has been rescued with the help from other agencies)  and understand their behaviour in the wild. Besides that, Eileen Chiang has the priviledge to visit the rescue centre too! It's truly amazing that the BSBCC team has done a lot of great work for the sunbears. Kudos.

Based on Eileen's expeirence, this is what she would like to highlight.  Eileen Chiang mentioned that during her trip, she still remembered when Mr Wong asked "Eileen, can you spot the sunbear?" and she told us that she took a while to get her eyes adjust to search for these sunbears. This showed that they are well camouflage. 

Great news for the Sunbears and for the public: This centre will remain on this location where they can be rescue and to be given a second chance to survive back in the wild. A work which require a heavy workman and consistency with high level of discipline. Please support the BSBCC!

Below are two of the four Sun Bears can be viewed from the platform.  (A quick ones - each of the sunbears in the BSBCC has name and their name derived from their past history or where they were rescued from).
Sun Bear - sniffing and wondering. Very active.
(Photo taken by Eileen Chiang)

Sun Bear (Got this view from the observation platform)
(Photo taken by Eileen Chiang)
This trip has provided Eileen Chiang - a great knowledge about Sunbear and the love and care from the founder of BSBCC , Mr Wong Siew Te and the team.

Getting more interest and would like to know more about our Bornean Sun Bear and BSBCC, please visit : Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). Do support this great initiative - For  the sunbear conservation. 

SABAH more stringent POME discharge Standard

Palm oil plantation
SABAH -  plans to adopt more stringent anti-pollution standards for wastewater generated by the palm oil industry, and mills are rising up to the challenge. Some palm oil mills have put up more intensive effluent treatment systems in order to comply with rules on cleaner discharges. This is good news f or the people and wildlife living along the state’s longest river, the Kinabatangan. Cleaner discharge: Raw palm oil effluent is treated in a series of retention ponds in a mill near Sandakan, Sabah. The state wants mills operating in ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Kinabatangan river basin, to adhere to more stringent discharge standards. Cleaner discharge: Raw palm oil effluent is treated in a series of retention ponds in a mill near Sandakan, Sabah. The state wants mills operating in ecologically sensitive areas, such as the Kinabatangan river basin, to adhere to more stringent discharge standards.

Read more:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Red tide warning in Sabah west coast

Red tide
Samples of bivalves taken from Kuala Penyu District, particularly the Setompok Lake area, and from waters off Kota Kinabalu District, including Gaya Island, Sepanggar Bay (Kuala Menggatal included) and Likas Bay as well as Papar, Putatan and Tuaran districts have shown to contain toxic level of PSP toxins
Fisheries Department Director Rayner Stuel Galid

KOTA KINABALU: The Department of Fisheries yesterday advised the people across the state to refrain from consuming any type of shellfish or bivalves immediately following the detection of red tide in the west coast of Sabah.

In issuing the red tide warning, the department’s director Rayner Stuel Galid also advised the public to refrain from collecting shellfish and bivalves from the sea areas in the west coast with the intention to eat or sell them.

“If consumers do wish to eat bivalve shellfish, they are advised to make certain that these bivalves are not obtained from the waters off the west coast of Sabah,” he said.

The shellfish include oysters (tiram), mussels (kupang), cockles (kerang) and any type of clam-like food.

Rayner said the presence of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins has been detected in samples of bivalves (kerang-kerangan) obtained from the sea in parts of the west coast of Sabah.

He said samples of bivalves taken from Kuala Penyu District, particularly the Setompok Lake area, and from waters off Kota Kinabalu District, including Gaya Island, Sepanggar Bay (Kuala Menggatal included) and Likas Bay as well as Papar, Putatan and Tuaran districts have shown to contain toxic level of PSP toxins.

The department also detected the presence of high densities of the PSP-causative organism, that is the dinoflagellate, Pyyrodinium bahamense var compressum, in samples of seawater taken from those affected areas.

Rayner said red tide occurances in Sabah in past years have revealed bivalves to be as toxic as 8000MU (Mouse Unit), where 400MU is considered the lowest limit as the dangerous level for humans.

Some of the shellfish samples taken to date have shown the levels to be as high as 4,010MU in Papar and 1270MU in Tuaran and is considered as very high.

“There is a high possibility that other adjoining districts will be affected (by the red tide) in the future. It is also expected that shellfish will become more toxic as these dinoflagellates become more numerous in the sea,” he said in a statement.

Rayner said safe to eat are all types of prawns and crabs including shovel-nosed lobsters, mantis shrimps, all types of coral fish and fish which are predatory such as sharks and sting rays, barracuda, tenggiri, jacks, etc, and deep sea fishes.

As a prudent measure, consumers are advised to throw away the guts and gills of any fish to be eaten and be washed properly.

Also, any type of dried, canned, bottled or salted fish products are safe to eat, he added.

The first PSP case in Sabah was recorded in 1976 where 202 people were reported to be suffering from PSP and seven died.

Since then, PSP occurances have been detected every few years off the west coast of Sabah.

Rayner said early symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue which may begin within minutes of eating poisonus shellfish or may take an hour or two to develop.

Depending on the amount of toxin a person has ingested, symptoms may progress to a sensation of “pricking of pins and needles” of the skin and then loss of control of arms and legs, followed by difficulty in breathing. Some people have experienced a sense of floating or nausea.

If a person consumes enough poison, muscles of the chest and abdomen become paralysed. Death can result in as little as two hours, as muscles used for breathing become paralysed.

Rayner advised the public to get medical treatment immediately at the nearest hospital or clinic if they experience the symptoms.

“There is no medication available for PSP or Saxitoxin poisoning; in general, supportive measures are the basis of treatment for PSP and in severe cases, with the use of a mechanical respirator or oxygen,” he said.

The department is working closely with the Health Department and will conduct further sampling and testing of other fishes and life sea collected from other districts to determine if they are toxic and dangerous to human health, he said adding further information can be obtain from

Source: Borneo Post

Agrotourism helps generate economic income to Sabah

Sabah Agricultural Park
Agrotourism has a huge prospect  in generating economic income to Sabah. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry has made many efforts to further increase its development for the benefit of the tourism sector overall.

Sabah Agricultural Park

National Productivity Corporation (NPC) director Burhanuddin Saidin said that the Ministry through its departments and agencies has developed various agrotourism products such as Sabah Agriculture Park, Tagal System, Weston Wetland Park and Keningau Livestock Farm. The other agricultural activities such as mushroom industry in Mesilau, goat rearing in Papar and bee farming in Matunggong which have already been developed as part of agrotourism packages. He also added through the Ministry efforts in promoting agrotourism, they managed to change the people’s perception that agriculture is no longer a sector for the poor or uneducated, but open to all with the promise of economic profits. Strategies in developing and promoting agrotourism can be learned from several countries like Japan, Taiwan, Holland and Thailand.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Special committee to monitor Sungai Petagas

PUTATAN: Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Yahya Hussin wants a special committee to monitor Sungai Petagas to ensure that it is clean.

He said it will also help to increase public awareness on the importance of their role in keeping the river clean at all times. 

“I have suggested it to the District Officer to form a committee to monitor Sungai Petagas and other rivers in the district. 

“Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has already given their commitment to help us improve Sungai Petagas as well as other rivers in Sabah,” he said.

Yahya was speaking to reporters after officiating at the Tiger Prawn Improvement and Rehabilitation Programme which also aimed to create public awareness on the importance of Sungai Petagas, held at the Kampung Petagas community hall here yesterday. 

Those present were the director of the Borneo Marine Research Institute for UMS, Prof. Dr. Saleem Mustafa, Sungao Petagas Community Project Leader, Prof. Datin Seri Panglima Dr.Ann Anton, Putatan District Officer, Ag. Abd. Ghani Pg. Yusoff, Director of the Fisheries Department, Rayner S. Galid and local residents of Kampung Petagas. 

Yahya who is also the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry as well as the assemblyman for Petagas, noted that the level of public awareness on river protection is still low. 

“We see the river is still dirty and there are rubbish and wastes strewn all over the riverbanks. Some irresponsible quarters even dispose industrial waste into Sungai Petagas. It appears as though the river has become a convenient dumping ground for villagers and even the factories. 

“We get information that at night and early morning, lorries carrying garbage and industrial waste come to dispose the items into the river and this has badly polluted the river,” he said.
Putatan which now has a population of more than 50,000 is rapidly growing and that growth has affected the function and condition of Sungai Petagas. 

Yahya recalled that some 40 years ago, the river was a source of livelihood for fishermen and its clean water was a main supply to the residents. 

However, the Department of Environment found that the quality of water in Sungai Petagas was deteriorating due to domestic waste such as plastic bags and bottles which caused adverse effects to the aquatic life in the river. 

“I hope that the programme to improve and rehabilitate aquatic resource in the river between the district office and UMS will transform and enhance the socio-economy of the local community while improving the quality of the river water,” said Yahya. 

He believed that once the river has been rehabilitated, it will have the potential to be developed as an area for eco-tourism. 

The programme is the second phase of an initiative to improve the fish stock in the river after the first one was implemented last 23 April. 

Yahya also distributed prawn and fish fries to 10 villages in the Petagas constituency.

Source: New Sabah Times

Breathing space for wildlife

Prime passage: Some tracts of forest are more important than others when it comes to strategic conservation, such as the Royal Belum State Park to the north, and the Temengor Forest Reserve to the south. They are connected by the Gerik-Jeli Highway (also known as the East-West Highway). Prime passage: Some tracts of forest are more important than others when it comes to strategic conservation, such as the Royal Belum State Park to the north, and the Temengor Forest Reserve to the south. They are connected by the Gerik-Jeli Highway (also known as the East-West Highway).
Development, logging and agriculture have already eaten away at vast tracts of forest. What is left is fragmented and of limited use to wild animals. This is why it is important to connect the tracts of good-quality forest that we do have.

A NATION resplendent with the grandeur of its wilderness – that is how we want the world to see us. Natural heritage forms an inextricable part of the Malaysian national identity, a fact evident in the tigers flanking the shield in the Malaysian coat of arms, and the rainforest so prominently featured in the Tourism Ministry’s “Malaysia Truly Asia” promotion campaign.

But with a growing population of 29 million exerting pressure for land to be developed into houses, commercial centres, farms and roads, the question of whether or not this image remains an identity backed by substance hinges on how we choose to expand.

Some tracts of forest are more important than others when it comes to strategic conservation, which is what prompted the formulation of the Central Forest Spine Master Plan, a policy under the National Physical Plan. It is to guide town planning efforts, and lists out key areas of forest which need to be protected. Under it, 20 primary and 17 secondary linkages act as forest corridors, creating a crucial link along the backbone of Peninsular Malaysia’s Environmentally Sensitive Area Network.

Development, logging and agriculture have already eaten away at vast tracts of forest, and much of what is left outside of this network is fragmented and of limited use to animals such as tigers, which require large territories to find sufficient food. This is why it is important to link up the tracts of good-quality forest that we do have.

So far, there have been some positive developments in favour of the Central Forest Spine (CFS) Master Plan, the latest being the Terengganu government’s announcement that it will freeze all development projects along an area that falls under Primary Linkage 7, a stretch of forest which connects Malaysia’s largest national park, Taman Negara, to other forests in the state. The decision was announced by state Industry, Trade and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Toh Chin Yaw after researchers presented their findings from months of survey.

The research group Rimba recorded 40 mammal species in the area, 15 of which are listed as “endangered” globally. These include the Asian elephant, the Malayan tiger, the Sunda pangolin, the white-handed gibbon and the Asian tapir.

There is hope that action will be taken for another important wildlife corridor that is similarly rich in fauna. Work by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) at the site known as Primary Linkage 2 points to the need to protect a stretch of state-land forest. Currently vulnerable to development, this area forms an important connection between the Belum and Temengor forests in Perak. 

Read more:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre Receives RM1,500 Donation

Sepilok Orang Utan Centre in Sandakan has received a donation of RM1,500 from Vino Vino Bistro at KK Times Square here.

The donation was collected from tickets for its charity dinner which was held in conjunction with the Miss Bikini Finland 2012 dinner hosted by Vino Vino on Thursday. Several bottles of fine aged whiskey were auctioned off and the money will be donated to  the rehabilitation centre for Orang Utans. Vino Vino’s Director of Operations Johnson Or has presented the mock cheque to Sabah Wildlife Department veterinarian  Dr Sen Nathan, witnessed by Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, City Hall Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir and Sabah Gerakan Chairman Datuk Gordon Leong. Dr Sen said Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre requires about RM60,000 a month to operate and they are very grateful to receive the donation. He also thanked the orgnisers of the Miss Bikini Finland 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sabah’s miss earth beauties tasked with supermarket mission

KOTA KINABALU – Twelve young women will put their skills ofpersuasion to the test today to convince supermarket customers tosay no to plastic bags. 

The “No Plastic Bag Challenge” is one of the Miss Earth Sabah 2012activities that will be held at Giant Hypermarket in Citymall,here. All 12 finalists are required to encourage shoppers to use eco-friendly bag thus creating awareness among the public on the importance of preserving the environment. Pageant organising director and former Miss Earth Malaysia 2009 Madelyne M. 

Nandu said the challenge was a platform for the young women to use their voice to persuade the public. “It is something different. We want the finalists to really engage with the community to further promote the no plastic bag campaign. “The challenge is beneficial for everyone. 

“I hope the girls will see it as an opportunity to communicate withthe people and spread awareness,” she said during the officiallaunching of Miss Earth Sabah 2012, near here, yesterday.

Winner of the “No Plastic Bag Challenge” will bring home a subsidiary title Miss Eco Giant. Present was state Environment Protection Department deputy director Dr Jammy Gabriel. A finalist, Grace Chang Siew Ling, 19, admitted she had always used plastic bags when doing her shopping but stopped after involving herself in the pageant.

Realising what plastics could do to the environment, she viewed thechallenge as a mission for her to contribute to the society andenvironment. “Personally, it is not hard to stop using plastic bags but whatmakes it difficult is the habit, because people are comfortableusing plastics and we need to change that.

“Being part of Miss Earth Sabah, it is our responsibility to shareour knowledge and tell the people that plastics can harm theenvironment.” 

Meanwhile, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister DatukMasidi Manjun hoped that Miss Earth Sabah 2012 finalists would play a proactive role in addressing the environmental issues.

In his speech delivered by Jammy, Masidi stressed the “No PlasticBag Challenge” would spur initiative and creativity to a higherlevel to save the earth. 

“The drive to stop the unnecessary use of plastics is verychallenging but what all the finalists do, can be a starting pointfor a plastic free lifestyle among the public. “What motivates me is to see how the finalists and society in general is eager to claim personal responsibility and take action.”.


DaMaI, the next UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sabah

UNESCO World Heritage Workshop

Kinabalu National Parkis the 1st UNESCO World Heritage Site of Malaysia and the only one for Sabah. The good news is – DaMaI would become the next and second World Heritage Site for Sabah, and the bad news is – we have to wait until year 2017 or later, as informed in the World Heritage Workshop held in Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & SPA on 4 Dec 2012.
workshop on nominating World Heritage Site

What is DaMaI?

DaMaI stands for Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, which covers 132,640 hectares (about 1,330 Square Kilometers) of Borneo rainforest in the heart of Sabah. You may click the following links to learn each of them:
  1. Danum Valley: 130-million-year old Borneo virgin rainforest
  2. Maliau Basin: Sabah’s Lost World
  3. Imbak Canyon: the green canyon of Borneo
map of DaMaI, proposed World Heritage Site of Sabah
DaMaI is a totally-protected forest reserve managed by Yayasan Sabah Groupand is larger than Penang state. Spanning an area of nearly the size of two Singapore and with an altitude ranges from 75 M to 2,000 M, DaMaI contains the richest flora and fauna species of Borneo. It is the home to over 15,000 plant and 350 bird species, and some endemic Borneo mammals such as Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey and Bornean Pygmy Elephant.

DaMaI WHS: Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon

Workshop to Nominate DaMaI as a World Heritage Site

The Workshop was officiated by Datuk Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment (Sabah), who stated government would give full support, even financially, to make DaMaI the next World Heritage Site (WHS) of Malaysia. There were about 60 stakeholders from government, NGO and tourism sectors attended this workshop.
momento to VIP
Pic: Momento to Datuk Masidi (middle) by Dr. Jamili Nais (right), chairman of DaMaI Working Committee, and Dr. Waidi Sinun (Yayasan Sabah).
The goal of this full consultative workshop is to gather input from stakeholders to finalize the Nomination Dossier for DaMaI, with the aid of Working Committee formed by members from Sabah Parks, Yayasan Sabah, Sabah Forestry Department, University Malaysia Sabah, etc. I’m glad to be part of this.
presentation in World Heritage Workshop
The first requirement for DaMaI to qualify for WHS application is – DaMaI needs to be accredited as a National Heritage Site by Malaysia government. That’s why Department of National Heritage (Jabatan Warisan Negara) Director-General, Assoc Prof. Datuk Paduka Siti Zurina Abdul Majid was there to explain the process.

group discussion in DaMaI WHS nomination workshop
Pic: group discussion
After the briefing and presentation in the morning, we split into 5 groups to discuss on different chapters of the Dossier and to give our feedback. I don’t want to go into too much details on this. In simplest explanation, this Dossier is the documentation and management plan of DaMaI, written in format set by UNESCO. The finalized and complete Nomination Dossier will be submitted to Department of National Heritage by 15 Dec 2012, to include DaMaI inTentative List of Malaysia. Tentative List is an inventory of sites that Malaysia plans to nominate as WHS in next 5 to 10 years. For more info, please visit the website of World Heritage Center. As the first step of nomination, DaMaI must be listed in the Tentative List.


The WHS application takes about 18 months. FYI, Malaysia becomes a member of WHS Committee in 2011. WHS Committee consists of members selected from 20 countries, and this is first time Malaysia joining this committee. It’s quite a privilege and good experience to learn about WHS application.
stakeholders in UNESCO World Heritage Workshop
However, to avoid conflict of interest, as a member, Malaysia is not allowed to nominate any Malaysian site as WHS. According to Department of National Heritage, the proposal of DaMaI as a World Heritage Site can only be made in 2015, the year our membership ends. That means DaMaI needs to wait until 2017 or later to become a WHS, provided that the application goes well.
Workshop on UNESCO World Heritage Site
As of 2012, there are 962 World Heritage Sites in the world (69% cultural sites and 20% nature sites). Since there are nearly 1,000 WHS now, UNESCO is more selective and they look for sites that can fill in the gap. One of the most important deciding factor is whether DaMaI has any exceptional uniqueness and quality (Outstanding Universal Value) that is different from other WHS. For example, DaMaI has excellent rainforest, but it shares a lot of similarities with Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a WHS which is nearly 20 times larger (2.5 million hectare) than DaMaI.
Though I’m optimistic, I’m not 100% sure if DaMaI will become our next WHS.

Heart of Borneo (HoB)

Anyway, no matter what will be the outcome, Sabah will still carry on with the conservation of DaMaI. In Aug 2012, Sabah Forestry Department re-gazetted 183,000-ha of Class 2 Commercial Forest (for logging & plantation) into Class 1 Protection Forest. Class 1 means fully-protected forest, no logging, no oil palm and no hunting is permitted.
map of Sabah forest
Pic: DaMaI is connected (note c, d and e)
Fragmented forest has been the biggest challenge for conservation in Sabah. The extra forest is really a great news, as it will link up Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon, and create a Corridor of Life for wildlife to migrate freely among these forests for more food and resources. This move is in line with Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative, which involves Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan (Indonesia).
souvenir of WHS workshop
I got a small souvenir from the workshop. It is a 8GB pendrive labeled with name of DaMaI, quite a “collectible”. :-)

Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Malaysia

Currently Malaysia has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely,
  1. Kinabalu National Park (Natural)
  2. Mulu National Park (Natural)
  3. Lenggong Valley (Natural)
  4. Melaka and Georgetown Penang (Cultural)
If DaMaI is inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, it will become the property of the world. It is a sacrifice for Sabah. More $$$ for ecotourism? Well, to be frank, logging and oil palm can generate more income than tourism. If the future generation can read this post after 20 years, please remember we work hard today to keep this Borneo green lung for you.