MIRI: Wildlife rangers are being trained from among local fishermen communities in the coastal villages to play key roles in protecting the fragile coastal and marine life along the Miri-Sibuti coral reefs in northern Sarawak.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and Petronas are jointly collaborating in the training of these honorary rangers.
They kicked off the project at Kpg Batu Satu Lutong near Miri city during a gathering with the villagers there.
Acting Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion, SFC and Petronas officials and local community leaders attended the event launching last Friday (June 28).
Jaul said the state government is grateful to SFC and Petronas for taking the initiative to train local rangers and getting the local community involved in protecting the coastal shores and coral-reefs that are rich in wildlife.
SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said it is crucial to get the local communities involved in conserving the wildlife on the coast, as well as in the seas offshore Sarawak.
"The Miri-Sibuti coral reefs is a totally protected national park.
"We want to train the locals living along the coast to become honorary rangers, so that they will play active roles in our conservation efforts.
"They will help us in aerial and sea surveys and surveillance and education outreach to more villages," he said.
Petronas Sarawak general manager Zulaihi Mantali said SFC and Petronas are already involved in planting artificial reef-balls offshore Miri-Sibuti to boost marine life population and to deter fishing trawlers from using destructive nets.
So far, 1750 of such reef-balls had been lowered onto the seabed.