sign in a cave in Laos

23 October 2008

Gua Naga Mas letter - NST

NST Online » Letters

Cave exhibit: A fossil of a cat is going to the dogs
By : LIZ PRICE, Kuala Lumpur

IN a cave known as Gua Naga Mas in Perak, there is a fossil of a mammal embedded in the cave's wall. It was found in 1992. No real tests have been done, but the fossil is thought to be a leopard or some other cat, and may date back to the Pleistocene, 1.8 million to 10,000 years BP (before the present era).

The Department of Museums and Antiquities erected a signboard at the base of the steps leading to the cave. My first visit to the site was in 1996. On subsequent visits over the years, I could see that pieces of the fossil had been removed. It is disheartening to find that unscrupulous people have been removing these ancient bones, and that nothing has been done to protect them.

This month, I tried to get to the cave and found the signboard had completely disappeared, and the steps were totally overgrown and were not to be seen. Also, a factory has encroached right up to the hillslope.

This fossil is thought to be the only one known in Southeast Asia. It is really sad to see that the authorities have done nothing to protect this site.

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