Unsightly: Grafitti scrawled by vandals near ancient cave drawings in Tambun Cave. —RONNIE CHIN/The Star
THERE seems to be no signs of revitalisation around the Tambun Cave area.
A fence has been put up at the entrance to the area but it has not prevented vandals from still wreaking havoc.
The gazebo at the entrance is also in a sorry state, with its roof badly damaged.
Visitors also have to be extra careful when climbing the steps at the site as they are steep and covered in undergrowth.
MetroPerak was greeted by even more graffiti on its latest visit to the cave.
The prehistoric cave drawings are still there, but if nothing is done they are in danger of being overwhelmed by random scrawls of vandals.
On March 8, MetroPerak reported that the state government was set to revitalise Tambun Cave by building facilities to ensure the site does not lose its lustre. The cave is famous for its prehistoric drawings,
State Tourism, Arts, Culture, Communications and Multimedia Committee Chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi told MetroPerak then that the state government had finalised the conservation plan for Tambun Cave including a proposal to build a proper entrance and other public amenities.
She said RM120,000 had been allocated for the construction, which would commence in April, but nothing appears to have been done since then.
The project was to have been a collaboration between the state government and the Department of National Heritage.
“To reduce the risk of vandalism, a proper fence will be built around the heritage site.
“For the second phase of the project, we plan to install awnings on top of the cave to protect the drawings from becoming faded due to exposure to the elements,” she said in March.
She said this after being told MetroPerak had visited the cave eight months ago and found it badly vandalised. Graffiti, including profanity could be seen near the prehistoric drawings.
With Visit Perak 2017 looming, the area still looks to be in poor condition.
The prehistoric drawings are located high up the face of a cliff that rises 40m above ground level.
To get to the cave, visitors have to walk almost a kilometre from the petrol station in the area.
Visitors either park near the petrol station, or turn into the housing area behind it and park there.
There are signposts that direct visitors to the edge of some stables and a horse exercise area, then over a small stream that leads to a flight of stairs leading up to the cave.
Thought to be about 2,000 years old, the cave drawings are believed to have been drawn with pigment made from red or brown haematite.
The red, iron-based rock can be found around Tambun Cave, so the creators of the cave drawing probably didn’t have too far to go for their materials.
The ancient paintings mostly depict animals and also people. The main picture, featured in many articles and tourist brochures, is thought to depict a dugong.
Archaeologists who have studied more than 500 individual drawings are not really sure what some of the pictures represent.
Attempts to reach Nolee Ashilin for comment on the issue were unsuccessful.