Pulung Tau US Aid

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July 30, 2007 11:58 AM

Pulong Tau National Park To Get US Aid For Conservation

KUCHING, July 30 (Bernama)[1] -- The International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) project of transboundary biodiversity conservation at the Pulong Tau National Park, in the Kelabit Highlands within the Miri and Limbang Divisions, will receive financial aid from the United States as part of joint conservation efforts in the region.

US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Claudia A. McMurray is scheduled to present a cheque for US$100,000 (RM340,700) to Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Wilson Baya Dandot on behalf of ITTO, which manages the project, here Tuesday.

"McMurray will be in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Sandakan, Sepilok, Sukau and Kota Kinabalu with Malaysian government officials to tour several national parks and centres, where the United States supports research and conservation of wildlife and forests," the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur said in a statement.

It said McMurray's bureau was responsible for a broad portfolio of global issues related to environmental protection and climate changes as well as conservation of the earth's resources.

She will also be handing over donations for environmental projects in Sabah.

The joint conservation efforts are in keeping with the announcement made in July last year by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US would support projects for the protection and sustainable development of forests in the region while in Kuala Lumpur for the annual Regional Forum of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

The 59,817-hectare Pulong Tau National Park, which was gazetted on March 24, 2005, includes Sarawak's highest peak, Mount Murud at 2,424m above sea level in the north and the Tama Abu Range in the south.

Adjacent to the park are Kelabit, Lun Bawang, Saban and Penan community settlements.

The state government has established an agreement with ITTO to undertake research that will likely lead to its expansion to the east up to the Indonesian border and adjacent to the Kayan Mentarang National Park in East Kalimantan.

Pulong Tau, which literally means "our forest" in Kelabit and Lun Bawang, is also an important water catchment area where the streams in the park feed the major rivers of Baram, Limbang, Tutoh and Kelalan, benefiting residents in the two divisions.

To get to the Pulong Tau National Park, one has to take a flight from Miri to Ba'Kelalan. Then one can either walk from Ba'Kelalan to Lepo Bunga, which is about a 10-hour walk or take a three-hour ride on a four-wheel- drive vehicle.

-- BERNAMA [2]