Scrapping Off Sukau Bridge A Win For Both Man And Mother Nature – WWF

Dr Dionysius Sharma

KOTA KINABALU: WWF-Malaysia has suggested the establishment of the Kinabatangan Management Committee (KMC) to ensure a more effective and sustainable management of Kinabatangan, the Corridor of Life.

Dr Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of WWF-Malaysia said all concerned must now move forward with ramping up collective efforts to conserve Sabah’s Gift to the Earth.

“Scrapping off the bridge is a win-win situation for both man and Mother Nature,” he said in a statement while commending Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, and the State Government for the decision to scrap off the proposed bridge in Sukau, Kinabatangan.

The announcement to call off building the bridge was made in London on Wednesday night by the Conservator of Forests Sam Mannan.

The Smooth clawed Otters can be found in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. – Photo credit Danau Girang Field Centre

Environmentalists had fought against the building of the bridge arguing that it would quicken the death of the declining wildlife in the region, which the Sabah Government declared the Lower Kinabatangan as Sabah’s “Gift to the Earth” in 1999.

Renowned worldwide for its highly diverse wildlife, the area hosts a booming ecotourism industry that contributes to the household earnings of the people in Kinabatangan and also powers the state’s economy.

According to Dr Sharma, KMC is just one of the aims listed in the Kinabatangan Management Plan, which was commissioned by Sabah’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, and developed by WWF-Malaysia in 2015.

It envisages how stakeholders can work together to identify, develop and integrate solutions to manage the Lower Kinabatangan in a more sustainable manner.

With the implementation of this management plan, the following can be achieved:

Juvenile proboscis monkey along the Kinabatangen river, one of the last strongholds for the population in Sabah. – Photo credit Rudi Delvaux

1. A framework for balancing conservation, economic and social goals among the multiple stakeholders in the Lower Kinabatangan.

2. The most pressing issues and threats related to wildlife populations and natural habitats in the Lower Kinabatangan are addressed, and these conflicts rationalized;

3. Areas for action, particularly on cross-cutting and cross-boundary issues related to the management of wildlife and their habitat are identified; and

4. Synergy between stakeholders through strategic planning to avoid overlap and address gaps, and limited funds are utilized in an effective and efficient manner.

“WWF-Malaysia looks forward to continue collaborating with the Sabah State Government, the good people of Kinabatangan and other stakeholders to conserve Sabah’s Gift to the Earth through sustainable management of resources,” Dr Sharma added.

“This is the best gift that all of us can give to the inhabitants of the Corridor of Life, and to the world. Together, anything is possible.”