Government Must Establish Ecologically Sensitive Zones For All Rivers, Says Prof

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

(Bernama) — The government must establish ecologically sensitive zones for all rivers in the country to conserve endangered wildlife and nature, said Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ecology, Aquatic Botany and Weed Science professor, Dr Mashhor Mansor.

He said the zones must be free from any environmental pollution, habitat deterioration, alterations and destruction to ensure total protection of the endangered species.

“We are not merely talking about trees but trees that bear fruit or seeds that can be eaten by mammals, birds and fish.

“Likewise, we do not merely mean water when we talk about rivers but also ripples, pools, rocks and micro-organisms.”

Prof Mashhor said this to Bernama during former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah’s visit to the Sungai Marong Kelah Fish Conservation Centre in the Endau Rompin National Park, Mersing recently.

Abdullah, who is the advisor and Jeanne the chairman of non-profit organisation Landskap Malaysia, led a four-day expedition to the national park, starting last Friday, to promote awareness on environment and nature.

The professor explained that the natural habitat for fish such as kelah (Tor tombroides) or Malaysian mahseer is crystal clear, rock-bedded river with strong current normally found in the hinterland.

“The kelah population has dwindled over the years due to intrusion in the form of logging activities, infrastructural development, commercial plantations that more often than not cause pollution, and even irresponsible fishing.

“Thus, it is crucial to establish ecologically sensitive zones as soon as possible before such fish becomes extinct,” he said.

Mashhor also called on the government to provide financial allocations for scientists to conduct river ecological studies to identify rivers that can be established as ecologically sensitive zones.

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