Perak urged to protect forest reserves before it’s too late

Sylvia Looi
Perak Wildlife Department staff loading an elephant onto a truck for relocation at the Royal Belum Forest Reserve. ― Malay Mail pic

IPOH, Aug 16 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) today urged the Perak state government to manage the forest complexes in the Central Forest Spine in a sustainable manner.

SAM president SM Mohamed Idris also asked that the state government maintains the existing permanent forest reserves.

“The recent case of an elephant calf found roaming in Lintang, Sungai Siput was due to disturbance to their habitat.

“Issues such as wildlife getting lost from their habitats, wildlife conflicts and deaths due to road accidents occurred because of habitat destruction.

“This will continue if the authorities do not preserve and protect wildlife habitats,” he said in a statement.

Mohamed Idris said the authorities should ensure any development plans that involve land do not come in conflict with the National Physical Plan (NPP).

“The NPP has identified forest fragmentation as a threat to forest conservation and biodiversity.

“We understand the opening of some of the forested areas is to meet the needs of the nation’s socio-economic development but with proper planning and sustainable management, the loss of forested areas can be minimised,” he said.

Mohamed Idris said according to the NPP and the state’s Structure Plan, the Piah Forest Reserve, which is connected to the Air Cepam Forest Reserve and the Temengor Forest Reserve in the North; the Korbu Forest Reserve and former Chior Wildlife Reserve in the South; and the Perias Forest Reserve in the East of Kelantan; is part of the Wildlife Corridor in the Titiwangsa Range’s ‘Central Forest Spine’ forest complex.

“The exploitation of the Piah Forest Reserve, the Korbu Forest Reserve and the Chior Wildlife Reserve, which are habitats for several species of totally protected endangered mammals, for agriculture and logging activities, would only lead to conflicts between wildlife and humans in nearby settlements,” he said.

Mohamed Idris noted that the Chior Wildlife Reserve was a protected area under the management of the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan) and was the first wildlife reserve to be established in Malaysia in 1903.

“However, after the reserve was repealed, the wildlife within migrated to nearby habitats namely the Piah Forest Reserve but over the years, the Piah Forest Reserve also saw exploitation by uncontrolled logging and forest destruction activities,” he said.

He said all parties should understand that when a protected forest area is exploited by uncontrolled logging and forest destruction activities, forest production and other services would be affected.