Malaysian scientists and activists have called on road planners in the Bornean state of Sabah to reconsider a 13-kilometer (8-mile) stretch of the Pan Borneo Highway that will cut through a protected forest reserve with a dense concentration of elephants when built. The current planned route runs through the Tawai Forest Reserve, a Class I protection forest in central Sabah that’s home to orangutans, clouded leopards, Bornean pygmy elephants and other endangered species. It also passes through 30 km (19 mi) of elephant range while overlapping extensively with heavily used elephant migration paths within the reserve. In its June 16 statement, Coalition Humans Habitats Highways (Coalition 3H) urged the Sabah government to adopt one of its two proposed alternative routes or risk impacting endangered wildlife populations in the area. It also called on authorities to champion “the formation of a Joint Committee” that would consolidate field data and help road planners make informed decisions on the best route for the four-lane highway. A massive infrastructure project that aims to link the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak to provinces in Indonesia, the Pan Borneo Highway involves the expansion or construction of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) of road through eastern Malaysia. Proponents say the highway will boost economic development in the region, but sections of its planned route, including the Tawai reserve stretch, have raised concern among scientists and activists. The Tawai stretch was not been part of the state government’s initial plans. Instead of constructing a new road…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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