KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Penang’s Bukit Bendera was today recognised as Malaysia’s Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the announcement was made today at a meeting of the International Coordinating Council of the 33rd Session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (ICC MAB).

He said the recognition was a success for Malaysia, in general, and the Penang government, in particular, in the management of areas of biodiversity importance as well as the commitment to implement sustainable development.

“Bukit Bendera is the third national biosphere reserve after Tasik Chini, Pahang (2009) and Banjaran Crocker, Sabah (2014) recognised under the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) by Unesco.

“The Ministry is confident that the Penang government will continue to be committed to properly managing this biosphere reserve site and strive to maintain this status in the future in order to perform the functions stipulated under the MAB programme,” he said in a statement today.

Takiyuddin said the Bukit Bendera biosphere reserve covering a total land area of 12,481 hectares was a green lung for Penang and involved the areas around Bukit Bendera, including the Penang Botanic Park, Penang National Park, six permanent forest reserves as well as two dams.

The Bukit Bendera biosphere reserve also includes three main ecosystems, namely forested, coastal and marine areas, each of which supports a diverse network of flora and fauna, including endangered mammals and migratory birds.

“So far, there are 2,456 plant species, 131 fungi species, 300 arthropod species, 157 vertebrate species, 26 amphibious species, 87 reptile species, 150 bird species, 30 mammal species and five marine species in the area.

“Twenty species of flora and 550 species of fauna in the area have been listed as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List (IUCN Red List), such as turtles, dolphins, pangolins, slow lorises and Penang Island rock gecko,” he said. — Bernama