Tuesday, June 21, 2011
More than half of Borneo's carnivores face extinction
KOTA KINABALU (Bernama)
More than 50 per cent of Borneo's many carnivore species could become extinct, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which lists them on its red list of threatened species.
In disclosing the findings, Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Director Dr Laurentius Ambu said as such there was a need for action plans and long-term solutions to the declining number of Borneo's carnivores.
Speaking at the launching of the 1st Borneo Carnivore Symposium, yesterday, he said the need to strengthen knowledge was crucial in efforts to protect the 24 species of carnivores found in Borneo such as the amazing Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi), which is only found in Borneo.
"Last year, scientists even rediscovered the world's most endangered otter species here in Sabah at Dermakot (near Sandakan), so it's obvious we have to work harder to protect these amazing wildlife," he said.
The symposium, aimed at developing action plans to ensure the survival of the carnivores in Borneo, was attended by almost 200 officials from 15 countries including Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
"The conservation of carnivores is important because they are what we call the keystone species as their presence maintains a healthy ecosystem within the forests of Borneo," said Laurentius, who was also the organising chairman of the Symposium. Besides the Sunda Clouded Leopard, the threatened carnivores of Borneo, refer to mammals including civet cats like the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), otters and badgers such as Teledu.
Laurentius said carnivores are on the top of the food chain and maintain ecological balance within the forests as well as agriculture plantations in Borneo.
The symposium was organised by the SWD, IUCN's Cat, Small Carnivores and Otter Specialist Groups of the Species Survival Commission and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research of Germany.