Road not a good idea for wildlife


  • Nation
  • Monday, 08 Aug 2016

Researchers installing the satellite collar on the female elephant on Aug 3 at the Lower Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary.

KOTA KINABALU: An ongoing study on the Borneo elephant population has reaffirmed a proposed road that goes through the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary on Sabah’s east coast will cause irreparable harm to the animals and environment there.

Over the past six years, Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) researchers, along with Sabah Wildlife Department rangers, have been placing tracking collars on elephants. Fourteen have been tagged so far.

The latest elephant to be collared, a female, was tagged on Aug 3 near the DGFC.

The tagging is part of a project called Elephant Family, supported by the Houston and Columbus zoos in the United States.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goosens said the collared elephants had been providing crucial information on the movements of the large resident herd.

The herd had been seen going into oil palm plantations and the vicinity of human settlements in Sukau, Bilit, Abai and Batu Putih, said Goosens, the project leader.

“Data accumulated over the years from those 14 elephants clearly shows that Sukau is a hotspot for elephant movements.

“We can anticipate major conflicts in the area if construction of the road and bridge that bisects the wildlife sanctuary goes ahead,” he said.

He said the bridge and road near Kampung Sukau would result in elephants being killed and nearby villagers could be harmed as well.

“The Government will have to fork out millions of ringgit to mitigate these problems,” Goosens said.

Building the road and bridge would also undermine the efforts of several other organisations, including state authorities, to maintain natural habitat connectivity and healthy wildlife populations, according to Goosens.

“Millions of ringgit have been invested to rehabilitate, reconnect and restore the fragmented forest areas along the river,” Goosens said.

He also said Kinabatangan attracted countless tourists and generated millions of ringgit for the Government.

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Environment , Danau Girang

   

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