Malaysia: Kuala Selangor Nature Park aiming for Ramsar recognition

Zora The Star 12 Feb 14;

KUALA SELANGOR: The popular Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) has been proposed as the country’s eighth Ramsar site.

The park is a wetlands comprising about 600ha of riverine mangrove forest, lake and secondary forest.

The target is to make the wetlands a site of global importance within two years.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Dr Prof Maketab Mohamed, who disclosed this, said the project was important to better protect the site from environmental degradation.

The Ramsar Convention is an inter-governmental treaty that embodies the commitment of member countries to maintain the ecological character and plan sustainable use of all wetlands.

Currently, there are 2,177 Ramsar sites in the world including six in Malaysia.

The seventh, the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, is in the process of being certified as a Ramsar Site.

“We have been wanting to have KSNP recognised as a Ramsar site for many years and we have good cooperation from all Federal and state agencies and the Kuala Selangor District Council to make it a reality.

“There are nine Ramsar criteria and we fulfilled five of them,’’ he added.

MNS conceptualised and proposed the KSNP in 1987. It is the first nature park to be managed by an NGO.

KSNP, which is part of the north-central Selangor coast, is also an Important Bird Area of Birdlife International.

Prof Maketab said another plan was to get the coastal area of Selangor, stretching over 100km, to be internationally recognised as an important flyway for migratory birds.

The extensive mudflats and coastal mangroves attract tens of thousands of migratory waterbirds annually from the northern hemisphere to feed and rest between September and March.

Some globally threatened species such as the spoon-billed sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank have been sighted at KSNP.

District Council chairman Noraini Roslan said the locals already knew of the importance of wetlands and migratory birds and welcomed the move to have it recognised as a Ramsar site.