KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's rich wildlife has received a boost from Japanese donors who have bought up some 94ha of land to be gazetted as part of a "green corridor" to link fragmented forests in lower Kinabatangan.
The Kinabatangan-based Conservation Trust Borneo Sabah will be tasked to rehabilitate the area for the forest corridor that will allow for wildlife particularly for elephants to move between the fragmented forests without encroaching on private farms and plantations.
The BCT Japan donors led by Saraya Co Ltd president Yasuke Saraya handed over the land titles worth RM4.6mil to Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga during a ceremony Tuesday (Oct 8) that was witnessed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and his deputy Datuk Christina Liew, who is state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.
Welcoming the contributions of the Japanese donors, Shafie said the role of helping in the conservation of wildlife should be emulated by all groups.
He said it was important for villagers, farmers and plantations to also care for wildlife such as elephants found encroaching into their land.
"It is not a license to kill just because it encroaches into the area," he said, adding that the people should seek the assistance of the Wildlife Department to help chase them away.
He said threats from wildlife in terms of destruction of crops was much less when compared to the damage done by humans to the environment.
The state government, said Shafie, was making clear cut policies towards conservation and these included reducing logging by stopping exports as part of an overall effort on conservation.
"Stopping logging exports has an effect on our revenue but we are doing it for the sake of conserving our natural resources," he added.
Meanwhile, Liew said that the efforts of the Japanese donors complemented those of others in the international community that included the buying of some 131ha of land critical for the movement of wildlife in the Lower Kinabatangan area through the raising of funds by the United Kingdom-based World Land Trust.
BCT Sabah chairman Datuk Laurentius Ambu said there was still a need to acquire some 325ha and that will serve as a wildlife corridor to link the forests.
Conservationists hope that such corridors would help reduce wildlife-human conflicts, while plans for the corridor could include planting fruit trees to create a food corridor for wildlife to ensure that they don't stray into human settlements.