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SOS Rhino : In the News : Danum Valley - a treasure throve of genetic resources

Danum Valley - a treasure trove of genetic resources


Established since 1963

April 25, 2003

Lahad Datu: Danum Valley is an important and one of the last remaining tracts of lowland tropical rainforest on Borneo Island and probably one of the few globally, said Yayasan Sabah (YS) Director Tan Sri Khalil Jamalul.

“It is a ‘laboratory’ which provides us living samples of plants and animals, equipped with the natural evolution processes that take place for many million years,” he said.

“The great biological diversity of the tropical rainforest such as Danum Valley gives us enormous genetic resources that are waiting to be discovered,” he added at the official launching of the Danum Valley Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Scientific Expedition 2003 at the Danum Valley Field Centre on Wednesday. His speech was read by YS Assistant Group Manager (Forestry and Marketing Division), Mohd Daud Tampokong.

Khalil, who is also YS investment arm Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd (ICSB) Chairman, said these resources are yet to be studied, explored and managed sustainably to benefit mankind.

He believed that without careful exploration, the knowledge of the tropical rainforest would remain mysterious.

“YS/ICSB welcome researchers and academic institutions to work together in encouraging efforts to develop the knowledge on tropical rainforest,” he said.

Earlier, UKM Acting Vice Chancellor, Datuk Dr Mohd Salleh Mohd Yassin, said in his speech that Danum Valley is one of the few remaining lowland dipterocarp forests in Sabah protected for the purpose of wildlife sanctuary conservation in perpetuity.

“Flora and fauna diversity here is high, including rare and threatened species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, tembakau, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey and the elusive Borneon bay cat. The number of species of birds recorded is 275,” he said.

Thus, he added, the Danum Valley UKM Scientific Expedition 2003 attempts to identify and highlight flora and fauna bio-diversity, socio-economic, geological and the physiochemical aspects.

Mohd Salleh said the area of research would cover forest management and conservation, botany, zoology, water, air and sound quality, weather, socio-economic, phytochemistry, geology and soil sciences.

The Danum Valley UKM Scientific Expedition 2003 is aimed, among others, at developing a fully facilitated research station and a database on natural resources.

Seventy UKM staff and students are involved in the expedition in collaboration with YS and Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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