There’s simply nothing left, says expert
THE Malaysian Nature Society was shocked to discover the areas meant to protect the large and rare Rafflesia flowers have been inexplicably destroyed.
The flowers are native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines but have been slowly disappearing due to deforestation and logging. They are also sourced for medicinal reasons, according to VICE World News.
The non-governmental organisation Malaysian Nature Society, which works side-by-side with forestry official and researchers to promote conservation, found the levelled forest area in Terengganu.
“There’s simply nothing left,” said Wong Chee Ho, branch chairman of the group and senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.
He added: “The destruction of the Rafflesia sanctuary in Tasik Kenyir is irreversible.
“We are all upset because this particular patch of forest was fragile and served as an important habitat for Rafflesia flowers.”
The last time Wong visited the sanctuary was early last year, before the pandemic and movement control orders (MCO). He had found two flowers in full bloom, a highly rare occurrence that happens once every few years.
“We are all upset because this particular patch of forest was fragile and served as an important habitat for Rafflesia flowers,” he said.
Wong added that the forest served as a field research area and was a favourite among birdwatchers who would find birds of prey and rare hornbills here.
There were also gibbons, tapirs, elephants, deer in the area.
The group has yet to find out the cause of the destruction and work is underway to ascertain the party involved.
“We don’t know yet if this was a mistake or was done on purpose, we are still waiting for feedback from the authorities but whoever did this never contacted the respective people involved.”