The fourth Royal Belum scientific expedition to explore and seek secrets of the 130-million rainforest of Northern Perak was launched on Tuesday, September 8 at Pulau Banding, Gerik.
The largest expedition ever was organised by Pulau Banding Foundation (PBF) and the Perak State Parks Corporation (PTNP). It consisted of 217 participants from 10 local public and private universities, three national research institutions as well as representatives from forestry, wildlife, army, police, health, civil defense and state park rangers.
The emphasis of the research, according to PBF Chairman, Professor Emeritus Dato’ Dr Abdul Latif, would be on environment and genetic resources conservation, establishment and maintenance of a database of all flora and fauna found and bio-prospecting for active compounds for use in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pulau Banding, a unique man-made 243-hectare island, is managed by the Belum Foundation and efforts are being made to the Royal Belum State Park to list the rainforest as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This idea was mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak last year largely due to the availability of plants with medicinal properties.