Malaysia: Pangolins in Sabah need help

The Star 23 Feb 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The state government needs help from animal conservationists and those with in-depth knowledge of pangolins to save the animal.

“So far in Sabah, we do not have bodies or organisations that focus on helping the conservation and rescue of pangolins,” said Tourism, Culture and Environment assistant minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming.

Although the state, through the Sabah Wildlife Department, was doing its part in protecting endangered species including the pangolins, help from non-governmental organisations was also crucial, he added.

Pang said pangolins used to be a common sight in Sabah, even in the cities but their numbers have dwindled drastically over the years due to high demand for medicinal purposes.

Pangolin scales are said to have medicinal qualities whereas the meat is being sought after by those with exotic taste buds, he added.

Pang said this after launching a book titled Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology yesterday.

File picture of a pangolin in the wild. (Jan 18)(picture goes with story slug kkmpangolin18)

Earlier, Pang said Sabahs wildlife and natural resources were one of the main reasons tourists visit the state.

These indirectly provide job opportunities to Sabahans.

The total number of land mammals in Borneo is 247, of which 63 or 25% were endemic.

“Many of the animals such as the Pgymy elephants, Proboscis monkey, orang utan and the banteng are found only in the state or Borneo, therefore it is important for us to protect these wildlife,” Pang added.

The newly-launched book on the mammals of Borneo was written and illustrated by researchers Karen and Quentin Phillipps, who have also written several other books on the animals of Borneo.

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