Modern parks and reserves were first established in the late 1800's. Sarawakian endeavours began with the passing of the National Parks Ordinance in 1956 and the establishment of a Board of Trustees to administer it.
Bako National Park became Sarawak's first national park, legally constituted in 1957. A change in administration of national parks took place in 1973, with the Conservator of Forests replacing the Board of Trustees as administrator of National Parks. As such, since 1973, the Sarawak Forest Department has been charged with the responsibility of enforcing the National Parks Ordinance.
The National Parks and Wildlife Division (NPWD)
The objectives of the National Parks and Wildlife Division are:-
- To establish and manage the National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Nature Reserves, Forest Parks and other equivalent reserves throughout Sarawak.
- To provide recreational and other facilities in National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Nature Reserves, Forest Parks and other equivalent reserves.
- To preserve and protect the flora and fauna, especially the protected species, and totally protected species.
- To develop an effective publicity and extension service on nature conservation.
- To undertake research in the ecology, preservation and propagation of wildlife and their natural habitat.
The National Parks and Wildlife Division has the following functions to perform:
- Promoting Nature Conservation
The primary objective of establishing national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves is for the protection of the State's rich and diverse flora and fauna which are becoming increasingly threatened as a result of the opening of large areas of forests for economic development. That, the State holds in trust for future generations as well as for the world, some of the rarest and most interesting species of wild plants and animals. Setting aside areas of natural habitats as totally protected areas will ensure the continued survival of our natural heritage for the benefit of generations to come.
- Promoting Nature and Conservation Education
Because of their undisturbed state, national parks and reserves are perfect areas for the study of nature. With well developed nature conservation programmes, school children will be able to appreciate the useful role of nature in our everyday life.
- Promoting Forest Recreation
The demand of a hectic lifestyle associated with the rapid assimilation of urban living into the social fabric of a growing number of Sarawakians, have put pressure on the urgent need for more areas for outdoor recreation in the State. This is evident from the large number of people visiting Bako, Mulu, Similajau, Kubah, Gunung Gading, Niah and Lambir Hills National Parks on weekends and public holidays.
- Promoting Tourism
National parks and reserves play a crucial role in the successful development of tourism in the State. The State Government has, through the State Tourism Task Force, identified our national parks as areas ear-marked for the development of both domestic and foreign tourism. This is in line with our objective of promoting the State as a destination for 'Adventure Tourism'. Our better known parks such as Bako, Mulu, Niah and Similajau National Parks will continue to be put in the forefront of the State's tourism development efforts.
- Advancement of Scientific Research
Our tropical rainforest is among the oldest and least disturbed in the region. For those wanting to study tropical forests in their natural state, our national parks and nature reserves offer the most appropriate avenues. Information gained by researchers will not only add to the general store of knowledge on tropical rainforests but also provide useful input for future management plans and conservation programmes.
There are four Branches within the National Parks and Wildlife Division, namely Parks and Nature Reserves Branch, Wildlife Branch, Planning & Development Branch and Interpretation & Conservation Education Branch.
Parks and Reserves Branch
The main responsibilities here include overall management of all parks and reserves.
- Wildlife Branch
The main activities are wildlife management and research. These include habitat management, captive breeding, species management, veterinary, enforcement and licensing. Research is mainly on primates, large and small mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
- Planning and Development Branch
(a) Planning and Investigation Unit
(b) Design and Implementation Unit
- Interpretation and Conservation Education Branch
(a) Interpretation Unit
(b) Conservation Education and Extension Unit
(c) Research Unit
(d) Administration Unit
National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Centres and nature reserves have been set aside to preserve examples of the variety of landscapes, forest types, plants and animals that make Sarawak unique.
Access, accommodation, footpaths, shelters and the provision of information and interpretation services have been developed for the convenience of visitors. Presently, we have accommodation facilities in most of the national parks and are constructing similar facilities for the others. You can choose anything from basic tents to fully equipped chalets with bedding, cooking utensils, fans, tap water and electricity. Some of the parks also have canteens that provide cooked meals. If you prefer a package tour, a variety of local tour operators specialise in such excursions.
For further enquiry, please contact us