National heritage activist calls for action to protect network of more than 100 caves
SHAH ALAM: Natural heritage activists have called for the Merapoh area in Pahang, with its network of more than 100 limestone caves, to be gazetted as an eco-tourism centre in the Sungai Relau National Park.
Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, head of the Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia, said the caves are hundreds of years old and a natural tourist attraction.
The association had sent a proposal to the Pahang state government to gazette the area, but had yet to receive a reply.
“We hope the Merapoh area can be gazetted as a tourism gateway to the Sungai Relau National Park and to preserve the beautiful natural heritage for future generations.
“We are concerned that certain parties are breaking down the limestone caves for raw material which could disrupt the eco-system and damage the irreplaceable captivating natural habitat,” she told Bernama.
According to Shariffa, the limestone cave area has yet to be fully explored and the hundreds of beautiful stalagmites and stalactites could generate enormous revenue for the national tourism sector.
She said among the caves which have become the focus of tourists was the “Cave of the Mermaid’s Tears” which has a natural pond and the Malaysia Day Cave is said to be most fascinating.
She said even though the national park has several entrances, Merapoh would make the best gateway to the park.
“We also saw various flora and fauna which are still untouched and could be suitable for research. We hope the Pahang state government will assist us by gazetting the caves so that parties will stop their activities at the caves,” she said.