Environment

The new Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Sabah is the largest in Malaysia

Sabah

Sabah has just gazetted the largest marine park in Malaysia, Tun Mustapha Park. The park, which was designated as the Kudat-Banggi Priority Conservation Area (PCA) under the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Programme in 2001 covers 878,000 hectares of sea area in northern Sabah.

The area was recognised for its rich marine wildlife which includes a mix of coral reefs, and seagrass habitats as well as endangered marine animals such as dugongs, sea otters, Irrawady dolphins, sea turtles, and humpback whales. The Malaysian Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili stated that studies revealed the PCA to be more ecologically diverse than even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The park ranges from off the coast of Kudat and Pitas up to the Straits of Balabac, covering over 50 islands and islets, including the largest island in Malaysia known as Pulau Banggi.

Sabah Park

World Wildlife Foundation Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) on the Malaysian Environmental NGO’s (MENGO) website stated that there are a high concentration of ethnic communities in the designated park area; coastal tribes such as Bajau, Ubian, Suluj, Kagayan, Balabak, and Bajau Laut as well as inland tribes such as Rungus, Bonggi, and Dusun, who will see their homes protected as a result of this gazette.

The park was initially proposed in 2003, and after numerous studies and expeditions to the area through the National Oceanography Directorate, marine conservation and preservation efforts have finally taken a big step forward with this establishment.




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