Sabah VIPs in Poverty
(This actually an old post, but I add more new photos at bottom. The last photo will blow you away, haha…) They don’t give boring speech, and thousands of people from overseas want to meet them. They are the key contributors of our billion-dollar eco-tourism business but they would leave us forever… But those, who threaten their lives, live in big houses, drive luxury cars, and pollute the earth…
Yes, the VIPs that I talk about are our eco-tourism Superstars, i.e. Orang-Utan, Proboscis Monkey, Pygmy Elephants, and Sumtran Rhino (四大天王). With wildlife and nature as selling points, our eco-tourism promotion is so successful that even the fellows from Peninsular Malaysia think we live on tree. Our hotel occupation rate climbs to 95%. Our future seems bright.
They are our rice bowl, but many of them die of hunger or losing their homes. They are only 1 or 2 steps away from extinction. Just look at the table below and see what is really happening. Their combined population is even less than the population of Ranau town. If we don’t do anything, I doubt if the tourists can see them again in the wild years later.
Deforestation and oil palm plantation have long been recognised as one of the major threats. Research has shown that the conversion of forests into oil palm plantations leads to the complete loss of 80-90% of mammals, reptiles and birds.
Development is important but it should be carried out in a more sustainable manner, which lessen the impact to the environment. Frankly, I can’t tell you if I could see those superstars again after 10 years, but most of us would live long enough to see them disappear from the earth forever. Anyone knows the status of the oil palm encroahment at Kinabatangan? Please share with me the most recent photo if you have any.