BWM Talk Series: Gunung Kanthan, Past And Present As A Heritage Icon
Organized by Malaysian Cave and Karst Conservancy (MCKC)
In collaboration with Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM)
Date: Saturday, 23 October 2021
Venue: Virtual – Zoom Webinar
Moderator: Dr. Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad
Eric Tang Cher Hing
Dr. Ros Fatihah Muhammad
Dr. Yong Kien Thai
Lim Tze Tshen
Dr. Juliana Senawi
Dhamma Sakyamuni Caves Monastery
Rare & Endangered Plants of Gunung Kanthan
International Standards for Managing Caves for Tourism
Malaysian Laws Relevant to Conserving Limestone Hills
Fossils and Archaeology
Bats of Gunung Kanthan
Gunung Kanthan is estimated to be half a billion years old and is the largest and most extensive peak remaining of the Kanthan iconic karst complex. As a natural monument, its majestic vertical white cliffs personify Gunung Kanthan.
Gunung Kanthan is documented internationally as a haven for high plant biodiversity not found anywhere else in the world. Additionally, it is the type locality for several new species never before discovered. As the limestone plants are commonly restricted to a given karst hill and to a particular microhabitat, this is the reason that numerous species can be found in such small areas and only on singular hills. It also contains the only remnant of limestone forest in Perak, an endangered habitat that is a refugia not only for large trees, birds, reptiles and frogs but also for a population of the endangered serow or kambing gurun.
Many archaeological and paleontological sites of Peninsular Malaysia are associated with limestone caves. Caves are also sacred places in the Hindu and Buddhist religions and there are several religious sites in Gunung Kanthan.
Limestone hills take millions of years to form but bulldozers and explosives can cause irreversible damage in just a few hours. Quarrying would destroy this magnificent landscape permanently, reducing it to a flat lifeless quarry site. Surely this is against the principles of designating geopark status? It should not be overlooked that sustainable tourism, both local and international, would be a growing market. There is no reason why Perak should not be marketed as the ‘Guilin of Malaysia’, with its temple caves and ecotourism potential for caving and rock climbing to coexist with the preservation its flora, fauna, cave ecosystem, iconic landscape, and cave temples.