KiTA (Kinabatangan – Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association) BLAZING ON ALL FRONTS TO CONSERVE AND PROTECT KINABATANGAN, 3RD DECEMBER 2015

March 16, 2016 kita-admin Uncategorized

YB Datuk Kamarlin Bin Haji Ombi, assistant minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment is at Sukau, Kinabatangan on 3rd December 2015 to launch the Kinabatangan Wildlife Patrol Unit as well as to give out the certification of 27 Honorary Wildlife Wardens and 69 Kinabatangan Wildlife Guides.

During the month of November and December, KiTA (Kinabatangan – Corridor of Life Tourism Operator Association) sponsored a total of 69 tourism personnel (23 persons in Nov and 46 persons in Dec) consisting of staffs and guides working within the lodges belonging to the members of KiTA to undergo a Kinabatangan Wildlife Guide Course (KWG) conducted by Sabah Wildlife Department.

The course for the Honorary Wildlife Warden was done during September 2014.

This is in response to a meeting during the month of May 2014 between KiTA Exco members and YB Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah, whereby KiTA is to work in collaborating with Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) to have all tourism operators in the Lower Kinabatangan area to be a member of KiTA by 1st January 2015.

The objectives are to ensure that tourism activities in the Lower Kinabatangan River remain sustainable and operate in an environmentally responsible and friendly manner.

Towards this end, Sabah Wildlife Department has discussed with the Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) and Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (Motac) and has since drawn up a set of wildlife watching standard operating procedures and formulated a series of training courses to prepare the staffs of the tourism operators in this area.

Sabah Wildlife Department, being the caretaker of the gazzetted Lower Kinabatangan wildlife sanctuary has derived with a syllabus suitable for wildlife guiding along the Lower Kinabatangan area and will be insisting that tourist guide conducting tour guiding along this area to undergo the Kinabatangan Wildlife Guide course.

The second series of KWG courses has just ended and it will be one of the many to be conducted by SWD.

In order that these initiatives are implemented and enforced, Sabah Wildlife Department together with KiTA, launched a Kinabatangan River Patrolling unit on 3rd December 2015. This unit will monitor tourism activities and restrict the encroachment of wildlife habitat. This unit will be working together with the already launched K-CoL Riparian Patrol Unit, by KiTA in collaboration with Sabah Forestry Department in October this year.

YB Datuk Kamarlin Bin Hj Ombi in his launching speech also reminded the participants to value the training they have just received and that the guides and warden should work together to protect and conserve the lower Kinabatangan area for now and the future generations. They have an obligation to do so with their newly acquired knowledge and skill.

Mr. Alexander Yee, president of KiTA is pleased with the collaboration with SWD. “We have been working closely with SWD since the formation of the Association in 2008. And this close working relationship has enable us to achieve quite a lot in terms of monitoring and carrying out conservation activities within the lower Kinabatangan area. Thus far, we have trained 27 Honorary Wildlife Warden and 69 Kinabatangan Wildlife Guides, it shows how when private sector is to work with government agency, we can achieve great things together.”

Mr. William Baya, Director of Sabah Wildlife Department who is at the launched of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Patrol Unit is pleased with the collaboration. “We have been working hard to formulate ways to safeguard this Gift to the Earth and we are glad that the tourism stakeholders understand this and work with the Department. Today, we reached an important milestone. With the launched of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Patrol Unit boat, we have not only given the operators the guidelines as to how to operate within this fragile area, we have also put in place enforcement measures to ensure that the guidelines are adhered to.”

He also reminded those who have successfully completed both the Honorary Wildlife Warden Course and the Kinabatangan Wildlife Guide Course to carry out their tasks diligently. “Every participant should realized that they have now been given an important task, which is to safe guide the assets of our State. They are more than an Honorary Wildlife Warden or a Kinabatangan Wildlife Guide, they are now an organized group of ‘ears and eyes’ to help protect the Lower Kinabatangan area.”

Since its formation in 2008, KiTA has grown significantly and now boasts 14 member lodges along the Lower Kinabatangan River. The Association’s mission is to promote & implement a globally recognized sustainable tourism model within the Kinabatangan-Corridor of Life that is beneficial for its People, the Planet and for Profit.

The Association is self-sustainable having a self-imposed conservation levy in placed; whereby members contribute RM10 for every guest that stay at their respective accommodation facilities.This self-sustaining financing mechanism has allowed KiTA to carry out many notable projects that have benefited the communities of KampongAbai, KampongSukau, KampongBilit and KampongSg Lokan. These activities included tree plantings, community medical project, the sponsoring to construct of a security post at Kampong Abai for ESSCOM of Sandakan and most recently, the collaboration with Forestry Department to launch a K-CoL Riparian Patrol unit.

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