KK Wetlands

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, Past and Present

“Deforestation happens every minute. How many trees we can save?” Environmentalists are always dismayed by the clearing of forest everywhere, as if we are fighting a losing battle. It’s really frustrating that whenever we plant one tree, others cut a thousand at the same time. Anyway, a lush forest starts with a few small trees, so I would say “Every tree counts! Just do whatever we can.”

lush mangrove forest
In fact, our efforts are bearing fruit, but it takes a long time to see them. For example, thousands of mangrove seedling were planted in Kota Kinabalu Wetlands (KK Wetlands) by nature lovers from all walks of life since 1998, and the trees are flourishing. The following chronicle photos would comfort your minds.

view of mangrove on tower of Kota Kinabalu Wetlands
Above: note both sides of the boardwalk are tall and dense trees today. We planted a lot of mangrove here in annual World Wetlands Day.

entrance of KK wetlands boardwalk
Above: the entrance to the boardwalk was once an open area. See the small tree at the right. It is so tall after 10 years!

boardwalk of Kota Kinabalu Wetlands
There is a saying in Chinese, “The predecessors plant the tree and the descendants enjoy the shade” (?????????). We always pave the way for our next generation, so they can have a better future than ours, that’s already an unspoken mission of parents. For example, we let our children inherit our big houses, profitable family business and lot of fortune.

view from observatory tower
However, does money mean EVERYTHING to our future generation? Do you think they can live happily if the air they breathe and the water they drink are dirty? If we handover our house to our sons and daughters, it’ll be clean and even nicely renovated, right? Our earth is also like a house, sadly, many people decide to handover an earth that is messy and piled with rubbish to their kids. Pollution issue such as stinky river and hazy sky isn’t “a problem next door”, your offspring won’t get away from your wrongdoing, so please keep our environment clean and green.

Tour package to climb Mount Kinabalu

mangrove at river bank
Above: We rehabilitated the mangrove trees along the river bank. See what we get after 10 years!

mangrove planting by DID
Above: a clear area becomes densely forested now, after Department of Irrigation did a mangrove replanting only 5 years ago.

mangrove marsh of KK Wetlands
Above: the mangrove trees also grow very high. The Wisma Perindustrian building almost “disappears” behind the wall of tall trees. Many wild birds find this spot a paradise and like to gather here in the late afternoon.

illegal immigrants stealing clams
Above: illegal immigrants stealing clams
Things seem fine but KK Wetlands is still facing many challenges. Just to list a few, some bird species vanish after the golf course opened. Otter and monkey disappeared since the invasion of illegal squatters near the park. And don’t even think about cleaning the rubbish brought in by the river every day, they are too many.

mangrove planting on World Wetlands Day
Though small (24 hectares), KK Wetlands fulfills the criteria to be certified as a Ramsar site, designated under the Ramsar Convention, for wetland of international importance, in terms of fauna & flora, ecology system and feeding stop for migratory birds. Malaysia has 6 Ramsar sites and Kinabatangan Floodplain in Sabah being the biggest. If KK Wetlands becomes untouchable Ramsar site, many greedy developers will be disappointed, as they can’t wait to flatten this area, which is a gold property due to its proximity to the city.

mangrove planting on World Wetlands Day
We need to fight for the survival of the wetland, like the recently proposed high-rise condominium developments close to the park. Those developers want to use nature view as the selling point of their property, but the things they do have detrimental impacts to the mangrove. When I worked there, I also chased away many illegal immigrants who trespassed our park to steal clams. So now you can see, this park is being bugged by BIG and small “flies”.

flourishing mangrove
Above: these replanted mangrove trees have fully grown and I saw them bear fruits yesterday!

Well, at this moment, let’s enjoy what we have and wish that they will stay for us forever.

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

10 thoughts on “Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, Past and Present

    1. Yes, very unfortunately.. That time nobody was interested in protecting mangrove. Only illegal immigrants like to use mangrove to hide their nest.

  1. Amazing how you have all these pictures taken in different years. Saddening it is how we are losing more and more of our forests. Saddening how they are very much in the hand of political power and even more saddening is the fact that it is the same political power that rips our forests apart. The way I look at Sabah now, there’s no way our forests can ever be safe from these greedy people. They just don’t care. But yeah, we should keep barking. I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist but I’m behind all the efforts by them.

    1. Hehe, most of these time-machine shots were unplanned. To improve my collection, I took the similar photos whenever I got new camera. When I was digging my photo archive, I’m delighted to see these Old Vs New photos make good story. Just keep shooting & barking, then people will see what we lose and gain.  :-)

  2. hello Mr.Murphy.. im a final year marine science student in UMS.. currently doing a final year project on mangroves in Kota Kinabalu Wetlands.. basically what im studying is about the differences between the planted and naturally occurring trees there.. i saw ur picture of before and after restoration.. i really hope you can answer few of my questions.. can i like have your email or contact number? i really hope to hear from you soon…tq

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