KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has been identified as a potential site for pangolin research and conservation efforts and a research site will be set up in Tawau district soon.
To accomplish this, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the Sabah Pangolin Sanctuary and Research Institute (Sapsari) will be signed on Monday (June 24).
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the MoU will be signed between the state government and Peter Chan, the founder and chief executive officer of US-based Sapsari Arizona.
Liew said the much-anticipated Sapsari is going to be a reality for the conservation of the critically-endangered Sunda pangolin.
"This centre will see research and educational programmes along with proper management of animal rescue and release operations," she said in a statement Saturday (June 22).
Liew said Sapsari is now being registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Sabah and will initially derive start-up funds from Sapsari Arizona, a non-profit entity.
"This is all possible through Penang-born Chan, a water and wastewater engineer prior to his retirement, through his Pangolin Conservation Initiative (PCI), which he presented to me in August 2018 and led to the formation of Sapsari," she said.
Through his PCI, Chan has collaborated with several pangolin and wildlife conservation experts from around the world.
Sabah was eventually selected as a potential site for the establishment of Sapsari following the meeting with Liew last year.
Chan then identified a local pangolin expert, Elisa Panjang, to lead the effort towards its formation.
Subsequently, site selection evaluation efforts were led by Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director (veterinary) Dr Sen Nathan for further scientific consideration.