SFC appoints 84 special park committee members
By Patricia Hului
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) appointed 84 individuals as Special Park Committee (SPC) members Kuching division from five national parks and two nature reserves at Matang Wildlife Centre on June 10.
The committee appointment enables selected members of the local community to work closely with SFC on protection and management of national parks and nature reserves in Sarawak.
These newly appointed SPC members were from Bako National Park, Gunung Gading National Park, Kubah National Park, Tanjung Datu National Park, Talang Satang National Park, Semenggoh Nature Reserve and Wind Cave Nature Reserve.
Controller of National Parks and Nature Reserves Sapuan Ahmad who present the certificates stated the SPC members were the eyes and ears in conservation for their own appointed areas.
He continued, “Their appointment as ‘Special Park Committees’ means they have the rights to voice out their opinions in protection and management of our totally protected areas.”
With reference to totally protected areas (TPAs), Sapuan mentioned he is optimistic that Sarawak can achieve its target of 1.5 million hectares of TPAs, 500, 000 ha more than the previous aim of one million hectares.
“The TPAs in the state now cover more than 830,000 hectares including water bodies,” he said.
Sapuan, who is also State Forestry Department director believed the aim to reach 1.5 million hectares can be achieved in the next few years.
He stated, “Currently, we have 30 national parks, ten nature reserves and four wildlife sanctuaries which are protected as TPAs.”
The public can visit national parks and forest reserves but not wildlife sanctuaries.
Speaking in the same event, SFC chief executive office Wong Ting Chung emphasised on the socio-economic importance of TPAs to the tourism industry in the Kuching region.
Wong stated, “We recorded a total of of more than 400,000 visitors to TPAs in Kuching last year”.
Naming just two popular TPAs in Kuching Bako National Park (NP) and Semenggoh Nature Reserve (NR), he said “For Bako NP, a significant proportion or 69 per cent of the 47 000 visitors were from foreign countries”,
“In the case of Semenggoh NR, 39 per cent of the 92 000 visitors were foreigners”.
He stated that when these figures are translated into hotel accommodation, employment for Kuching folks and tourism dollars, everybody can all understand the importance of TPAs and why there is a need to look after them better.
“The responsibility to protect and manage the vast and widely dispersed TPAs is not even easy with combined efforts of Sarawak Forestry and Forest Department”.
Wong continued, “With assistance and inputs from SPC, it is hoped that we can better protect and manage our TPAs for the enjoyment of all”.
The committee appointment is in accordance with Section 8, National Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance 1998.
Each SPC committee comprises 12 members made of honorary wildlife rangers, community leaders, government officials, members of NGOs and private sector.
The team is led by a park warden as the chairman.
The certificate presentation ceremony also observed a moment of silence to remember lives lost during the Sabah earthquake.
Sapuan officially appointed 60 SPC members for Miri region in Lambir Hills National Park recently.