Sabah must step up efforts to protect wildlife, says scientist

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 24 Nov 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs to do more to protect the wildlife and environment, says the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC).

Its director Dr Benoit Goossens said the Sabah government should realise this before the situation worsens.

“We continue deforesting and decreasing our wildlife’s habitat for the sake of development.

“You just have to look at projects like the Pan Borneo Highway with some segments that will further fragment large mammal populations; the Sukau bridge that will further fragment elephants, orangutan and proboscis monkey populations," he said on Sunday (Nov 24).

Dr Goossens said animal populations are fragmented, which means individuals are not able to meet and exchange genes.

The scientist said fragmentation was probably one of the main causes for the rhino extinction with individuals scattered, females separated from males and no babies produced.

“To this you add poaching and wildlife trafficking, pet trade, hunting for wildlife parts such as scales for pangolin, ivory for elephants or horns for rhinos, and you have your recipe for species extinction,” he said.

Asked what are the lessons learnt from the death of Iman the last rhino on Saturday (Nov 23), Dr Goossens said only drastic changes in the way we manage our landscape will prevent wildlife from extinction.

He said the government must stop deforestation, avoid developing protected species habitats, combat poaching and wildlife trafficking, and re-establish connectivity between forested areas where wildlife is present.

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