Piasau Nature Reserve

 
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The Piasau Nature Reserve, situated at what was formerly Piasau Camp at the Miri Peninsula, was officially gazetted on 21st June 2014 as a result of public petitioning.

The area now serves as natural, ecological, recreational, scientific and educational values for anyone interested and offsets the disadvantages of urban development environmentally. Other birds and wildlife can be observed in the area. Historically, Piasau Camp was a very rustic area which serves as living quarters for Shell employees that had unconventional layouts built in harmony with nature - single or double story detached staff houses with no fencing, and shaded by tall casuarina trees all around.

History
In 2013, an observant member of the public saw some poachers succeeding in capturing a Hornbill with the intent of keeping it as a pet, and news of its capture was spread on social media, causing a huge manhunt to track down the poachers and release the captured Hornbill that involved the police. Unfortunately, the hornbill had died while in captivity, and after police investigation the poachers lead to its carcass that they had thrown into a trash heap. This was particularly tragic, as this Hornbill's name was Faridah, who is mate to another Hornbill named Jimmy. Hornbills tend to have life-long mates. The pair was recorded to have produced many, many offspring together, and thus were responsible for maintaining a big portion of the Hornbill population in the area before Faridah's capture.

News of Faridah the hornbill's death caught the public attention and a huge petition by the local community and major non-profit organisations was done for the Sarawak government to convert Piasau Camp into a Nature Reserve to further prevent destruction of wildlife, and to become a protected area when the land it was on originally meant to be redeveloped into a beach-side attraction with shophouses and condominiums after Sarawak Shell's decision to relinquish Piasau Camp to the government.

The petition succeeded and the 88.5 hectare land was officially declared to be turned into a Nature Reserve on December 31st, 2013 for conservation of hornbills and other wildlife, a heritage site and buffer zone against natural disasters. The park was officially gazetted on 21st June the year after.

Hornbills are also protected species under Ordinance, so the penalties for keeping, killing, hunting, capturing, selling, trading or even so much as disturbing them are severe enough to incur a fine of up to RM25,000 and three years’ imprisonment.


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