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KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Communities must keep working together to preserve forest ecosystems that are increasingly being threatened, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said.
In his message in conjunction with World Wildlife Day today, he said forests are not only the main habitat for flora and fauna but also contribute to ecosystems such as clean water supply, wildlife habitat and recreation.
It also contributes to the socio-economic development of communities directly dependent on its resources, he added.
“Forests need to be preserved and conserved to protect increasingly endangered ecosystems and to help reduce environmental impact due to climate change.
“Forest degradation, land conversion, poaching and illegal trade will lead to the extinction of flora and fauna species, an increase of human-wildlife conflict as well as affect eco-tourism potential,” he said.
Wildlife Day is celebrated on March 3 annually and this year, the celebration is themed “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”.
On this year’s theme, it was chosen to highlight the importance of the forest ecosystem and its species in ensuring the continuity of human life, including the Orang Asli and local communities who have very close relationships with the forest.
Towards this end, Shamsul Anuar said various efforts had been implemented by the government including the Khazanah Integrated Operations (OBK), which was named the winner of the 2020 Asia Environment Enforcement Awards on February 17.
In addition, he said the Biodiversity Protection and Patrolling Programme (BP3) was also introduced by getting communities involved, including veterans of the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Orang Asli to ensure enforcement in forest areas has more bite, besides fostering responsibility in protecting the country’s flora and fauna.
Shamsul Anuar said this year, various communication, education and public awareness programmes, in line with new norms, had also been arranged, including webinars and art exhibitions. — Bernama