Len Talif: S’wak always advocate establishment of Totally Protected Areas

Len (back row, tenth left), Zolkipli (back row, ninth left) and Sheila (back row, eighth left) in a group photo with the 2nd Asean Flyway Network Meeting delegates. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING: Sarawak has always advocate the establishment of Totally Protected Areas (TPA) such as its national parks for the purpose of conservation of habitat and ecosystem among other functions.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said this is evident on how natural preservation or conservation of habitat works and flourish.

“Our aim is to have one million hectares of TPA in the state out of the 12.4 million hectares. We are almost there and hopefully by next year, we will reach the one million mark,” he said when officiating the 2nd Asean Flyway Network Meeting at a leading hotel here today.

Citing Bako National Park as one of the state’s TPA with Sarawak Forestry Corporation’s (SFC) management presence thereat, he pointed out that migratory waterbirds have made Bako Buntal Bay as their own for wintering as well as to forage for foods at the national park.

This, he said, offers a safe ‘refuge’ for the birds.

He noted that Sarawak is glad to get Bako Buntal Bay officially designated as the ‘Flyway Network Site’ as part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site’ back in 2013.

“Bako Buntal Bay covers a vast area of 2,800ha which offers habitat comprising of mudflat, shallow waters, intertidal zone and mangroves which attract migratory birds and shorebirds to feed on marine life as they rest of winter over while en-route during their migratory passage.

“Record shows that 32 species of birds comprising 20,000 to 25,000 individuals winter in the Bay and its immediate surroundings at peak season. That must be an awesome sight indeed.”

Being the oldest national park in Sarawak having been in existence for 62 years, Bako National Park forms part of the Bako Buntal Bay, which as a unit serves as the ‘Important Bird Areas’ (IBA) for the migratory watebirds.

Len Talif said there are also other areas in the northern part of Sarawak that the state is conducting surveys on such as Kuala Baram Wetland in Miri and Kuala Trusan Wetland in Lawas, which have potentials to be developed as IBA.

“For that, I leave it to SFC to work with local authorities and interested parties to develop the protection plan and one day may develop the Site Information Sheets for nomination into the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site.

“In short, all I’m saying is that we will do our part in safeguarding Bako Buntal Bay and other potential sites asp art of the global flyway network.”

Also present were SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton and Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) director Dr Sheila Vergara.

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Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/05/13/len-talif-swak-always-advocate-establishment-of-totally-protected-areas/