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Tapirs to be reintroduced to Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Plans are underway to reintroduce the tapir to Sabah, with three to four of the mammals to be translocated to the state from the peninsula as early as next year.

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor said there was evidence that the endangered creatures had once roamed the forests of Sabah but have since gone extinct.

“We think it’s possible to reintroduce the tapir, and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks has agreed to send some of the animals to Sabah,” he said after a lecture on forestry and climate change at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here on Wednesday.

He said Sabah authorities had also agreed in principle to reintroducing the animals here.

“Now it’s a matter of getting the necessary funding for this initiative to get off the ground,” said Salleh, the former Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) director general.

Earlier in his lecture, he said Sabah was leading other states in the country in the conservation of its protected and pristine forests including the Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon and Maliau Basin.

“The state government’s policies are place to protect these important conservation areas. All these are to be lauded,” he added.

He said it was heartening to see the state engaging foreign expertise in the conservation efforts of these protected areas.

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