Sarawak loses a geological treasure

Lone rock: The ‘cobra head’ sea stack at Bako National Park.

KUCHING: Sarawak has lost one of its most well-known landmarks with the collapse of the “cobra head” sea stack at Bako National Park into the sea.

The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) said the incident was first reported by a park guide at 4pm on Tuesday.

Now it’s there: The sea stack before it collapsed. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The StarNow it’s there: The sea stack before it collapsed. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star

“The collapse of this iconic sea stack was most probably caused by big waves experienced on site.

“The recent big waves were the final act of erosion that had been happening to this coast of Sarawak for millions of years,” SFC said in a statement yesterday.

Its chief executive operator Abang Arabi Abang Aimran, who expressed shock, said the sea stack was important not only for its natural beauty, but its contribution to the local tourism industry, particularly for boat operators at Bako National Park.

“Many had enjoyed watching nature’s beauty and we should always admire and not take such gifts for granted.

“Nature’s gifts sometimes can be restored but sometimes are irreplaceable,” he said.

And now it isn’t: View of the coast where the sea stack used to be. — Photo by Borneo Adventure/FacebookAnd now it isn’t: View of the coast where the sea stack used to be. — Photo by Borneo Adventure/Facebook

He added that the sea stack held great significance as one of the country’s geological treasures, formed from sandstone through the process of erosion.

State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the sea stack had played a role in Bako’s recognition as Sarawak’s first national park in 1957.

“On a personal note, I am deeply saddened. The iconic sea stack was a must-visit spot in Bako National Park, attracting visitors for memorable photo opportunities,” he told reporters at a Chinese New Year gathering in Sibu.

Abdul Karim said his ministry would look into measures to prevent or delay seawater erosion on rock formations, but added that this was a natural phenomenon.

He also said visitors to Bako National Park could still enjoy its many other attractions despite the loss of the sea stack.

The Bako sea stack is the second well-known rock formation in Sarawak to collapse in recent years.

On Feb 20, 2020, the “horse head” cliff at Tusan beach in Miri collapsed, believed to be due to heavy rain.

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