Endau Rompin nominated for Asean Heritage Park status, says Natural Resources Minister

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Cabinet, at its meeting Friday (Dec 11), agreed to the nomination of the Endau Rompin Johor National Park for recognition as an Asean Heritage Park (AHP), says Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

The Energy and Natural Resources Minister said it would be the fourth AHP for Malaysia after the National Park in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu; Kinabalu National Park (Sabah) and Mount Mulu National Park (Sarawak).

"The nomination of the Endau Rompin Johor National Park will, among others, enhance its image as an important conservation area in Johor and the second National Park in Peninsular Malaysia, strengthening management of the park based on 'best management practices' on par with the management of protected areas in the region and internationally.

"Apart from that, it also enhances the networking and cooperation of protected areas between the country and other countries, ” he said Saturday (Dec 12).

AHP is a regional cooperation initiative to manage the networking of protected areas in the Asean region which are unique, with biological diversity and important ecological values.

The matter was agreed by Asean member countries through the Asean Declaration on Heritage Parks and Reserves 1984 signed by Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand on Nov 29,1984.

The Endau Rompin Johor National Park is more than 90% covered by tropical rainforests with 80 globally endangered plant species listed under the IUCN Endangered Species Red List, comprising Critically Endangered (three species), Endangered (16) and Vulnerable (26).

The park is also an important habitat for the conservation of endangered mammals, especially the Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris), Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus) and Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus).

According to the statement, the Ministry will submit the park’s nomination documents to the AHP Secretariat in the Philippines for consideration by Asean working groups as well as approval at the Asean Ministerial level in 2021.

Shamsul said the nomination reflected Malaysia's seriousness in preserving and acknowledging protected areas as an invaluable national treasure.

He called on all state governments to also take the initiative to submit nominations for international recognition such as AHP as it can help in the promotion of the tourism sector, not only in Malaysia and in the Asean region, but also internationally.

"However, before the potential of ecotourism is aggressively explored, development and management of ecotourism areas must be implemented sustainably to ensure that the existing flora, fauna and ecosystem are always preserved," he added.

For that purpose, he said, a carrying capacity study should be implemented and the need for ecotourism operators to ensure the capacity limit is complied with.

He said the effort was also in line with Asean's intention for conservation measures to be implemented to maintain ecological processes and genetic diversity, ensure the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as conserve forest areas that have high value in terms of culture, education, research, recreation and ecotourism. - Bernama

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