Kinta Nature Park
The Malaysian Nature Society views with alarm and concern the presence of a mining dredge in Kinta Nature Park (KNP) as reported in The Star, 8 January 2005. The renewal of such activities will undermine the integrity of the park and affect (in most cases, irreversibly) the biological diversity and ecological processes contained in the park.
Due to the historical events of the area, the Kinta Valley is filled with 4,000 ha of abandoned tin mining lakes and pools, which were considered ‘idle’ and of little economic value. Contrary to believe, studies by MNS in the late 1990s suggested that former tin mining lands contained important biological diversity and protect ecological processes.
Furthermore, such areas highlighted Perak’s rich historical past and legacy. In light of these findings, MNS submitted a proposal to the Perak State government in 2000 to conserve Kinta Nature Park in Batu Gajah and listed the park in the MNS Blueprint for Conservation.
Kinta Nature Park is home to at least 120 bird species, with almost 60% of them listed as Totally Protected or Protected under the Protection under the Protection of Wild Life Act 1976. At least one globally threatened bird species was found in MNS’ surveys. Furthermore, KNP is the only location in the country that hosts five breeding population of herons and egrets.
The conservation of KNP fulfils several objectives; (1) preserve the historical heritage and legacy of the tin-mining in the Kinta Valley; (2) conserve and protect the biological diversity and ecological processes of former tin-mining areas in Kinta Valley; and (3) promote sustainable land use in the former tin-mining areas in Kinta Valley.
A development plan for Kinta Nature Park was drawn up by MNS in 2001, underlining the suitable activities and development for the conservation and sustainable use of the park. Therefore, MNS would like to continue to encourage and promote ecotourism, nature education and training activities in KNP, which also coincides with the State’s tourism plans.
The initial RM600,000 spent by the State is lauded and MNS would like to reiterate its commitment to work with the State on improving the conservation of KNP.
As KNP is not gazetted officially at the moment, various threats have surfaced. The lack of proper management and enforcement presence on site may further jeopardize the park’s integrity and value. As such, MNS would like to urge all concerned local stakeholders and NGOs to meet and discuss the way forward to better conserve and protect KNP.