SEVENTY scientists and researchers participated in the Taman Negara Scientific Expedition (second edition) as part of efforts to collect information on biodiversity at the Pahang National Park here.
The expedition was also aimed at exploring new, endemic as well as unique flora and fauna in one of the world’s most ancient rainforest.
During the five-day excursion, researchers from various departments, research institutes and public institutions of higher learning, including Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), were placed at the Kuala Keniam UiTM-Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) station.
UiTM deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) Prof Dr Mohd Nazip Suratman said findings from the expedition would contribute to the country’s sustainable development goals (SDG) and further enhance the university’s collaboration with other researchers.
“We need updated and more comprehensive information from the ones collected in the 2008 expedition.
“Through this scientific expedition, there will be numerous significant findings that can be documented in various forms including books, conferences, journals, coffee table books and documentary films,” he said after launching the expedition.
Also present were Perhilitan deputy director-general Datuk Fakhrul Hatta Musa, UiTM Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainable Development director and expedition head Prof Dr Zulkiflee Abd Latif, and deputy vice-chancellor (Industry, Community and Alumni Network) Prof Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad.
Fakhrul Hatta said while the department lauded the effort as the park held a treasure trove of knowledge, it also needed to ensure participants’ safety since the station was located on an elephant track.
“We have installed electrical fencing at several areas of the station to prevent elephants from coming in.
“Here, we also have the military veterans and Orang Asli as well as Perhilitan personnel (as wildlife rangers), not only to look after the researchers but also to monitor tourists’ movement and foreigners’ intrusions,” he said.
He added the expedition would benefit and provide data to Perhilitan on existing flora and fauna species there, and the information could be utilised for budget planning and acquisition in the future.
Besides Kuala Keniam, other locations for such expeditions include Pulau Tuba, Royal Belum and Ledang National Park, which cater to different research themes. — Bernama