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KK Wetland gets Ramsar status

KOTA KINABALU: Numerous conservation efforts, including restricting visitors, are already being planned for the world’s first urban mangrove wetland to be internationally recognised for its importance.
The Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre, which is located in the city, was yesterday declared the first urban mangrove wetland to be given Ramsar status for its international importance.
The status is accorded under the Ramsar Convention, an inter-governmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society president Datuk Zainie Abdul Aucasa said visitors will be allowed at the site but the number will be restricted to preserve the ecosystem and the area.
The society, he added, will be working with various agencies and departments to conserve the 24ha prime land.
“We will emphasise more conservation, research and awareness programmes, instead of turning the centre into a tourism spot. We want to further conserve this area which is home to some 30 mangrove species, some of which are endangered, over 90 types of resident and migratory birds as well as five species of reptiles,” he said.
In his speech at the ceremony to designate the centre a Ramsar site, Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman said the recognition was the result of the Government’s continuous rehabilitation efforts for the environment.
“Sabah is home to some 60% of the country’s total mangroves and we are committed to not only protecting the remaining mangroves and forests here, but also properly managing and rehabilitating areas that have been degraded,” he said.
“The effort to protect this natural heritage while pursuing economic success is part of striking a balance that will benefit all,” he added.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun delivered Musa’s speech.
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