TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

03 Julai 2009

A LOT OF GOOD IN LIMITING HIKERS ON GUNUNG LEDANG

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Nature Society of Johor (MNSJ) and the Johor National Parks Corporation want the state government to limit the number of hikers on Gunung Ledang so as to minimise the damage to its natural environment.

MNSJ chairman Assoc Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed said such a move would prevent further damage to the trails.

“The mountain trails have slowly started to deteriorate due to uncontrolled hiking,” he said.

“The rare orchid species found on the mountain are also affected as they are creeping plants that grow along the trails,” Prof Dr Maketab added during the society’s annual general meeting at a hotel here on Saturday.

Prof Dr Maketab said limiting the number of hikers would also ensure that visitors enjoy the tranquillity of nature without being stressed out by overcrowding and long waits.

“Gunung Ledang is one of the most easily accessible mountains and is popular among local and international tourists for trekking and recreational purposes,” he added.

Prof Dr Maketab said MNSJ also planned to carry out conservation works on a 48ha sea grass field near Pulau Merambong here.

He said the sea grass field, the largest patch in the peninsular, was under threat due to the development of the Tanjung Pelepas Port, Nusajaya and pollution caused by Skudai River.

“This patch of sea grass is important as it is a breeding ground for many different aquatic life forms,” he said.

“Sea horses and other fish like to breed in this area but it is slowly deteriorating,” he added.

Prof Dr Maketab said the patch was also a feeding ground for the Sea Cow, better known as the Dugong.

He added that the society would gather more information about the Merambong sea grass site in order to find a solution to ensure its continued survival.

SOURCE: THE STAR, 3 JULY 2009

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