Piasau Camp conservationists’ wish may come true by year end

Datu Len Talif Salleh

Datu Len Talif Salleh

KUCHING: Piasau Camp will be gazetted as a nature reserve by year end, if there is no objection to the process.


Environment Assistant Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh said the state cabinet had come to a decision on that and the Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had asked him to speed up the gazetting process.


“All studies and documentations have been done and these will be our basis on gazetting the area. Usually the process takes a long time, but I do not foresee any objection that could cause delay.


“It can be done by end of the year. Once gazetted, the area will be fenced up and turn into a botanical garden, similar to Stutong Nature Reserve. Petronas and Shell had also indicated their willingness to finance the running of the nature reserve.


“The maximum days for public inquiry is 60 days but if there is no objection to the gazetting, things can be sped up. In fact, we can start the public inquiry any time now.


“Besides protecting the wildlife there, it will be good for Miri to have a nature reserve in the middle of the city,” he told reporters at Wisma Sumber Alam yesterday.


Talif expressed his sadness over the killing of Piasau Camp resident hornbill called Faridah, whose carcass was recovered  in a bulk bin on Thursday.


“Hornbills mate for life, so when one partner die the other will be very sad. We don’t know how long he (Jimmy the hornbill) will last.


“We will let the law that its course. Whoever committed this crime will be taken action against by the law, a crime which carries the penalties of RM25,000 fine and three years’ imprisonment,” he said.


On the online speculation that the poachers were hired to kill the hornbills to stop government from gazetting the area, he refused to comment without any evidence.


Meanwhile, on the proposal to gazette Kuala Lawas in Limbang as a national park, Talif said it is currently under the public inquiry process.


“I don’t have the full details on this, but currently it is in the public inquiry process to see if there is any public or stakeholder objections.


“We are trying to educate people living in the area that by putting the area as Totally Protected Area (TPA), does not deny them of the usage of the area.


“Instead it can be done better as the resources will be managed professionally to ensure sustainability. A good example is Loagan Bunut National Park where there is the Berawan community living there. We taught them not to over-fish and only to fish at certain times.


“It is a long process to educate the local people but we will continue to engage them in discussions. There is no such thing as taking away the area from them,” he said.

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