sign in a cave in Laos

28 July 2011

Gua Naga Mas fossil, Perak, Malaysia

I wrote this letter which was published on the letters page, p16 of THE SUN , 20th October 2008 and also in the New Straits Times on 21 Oct 2008. It concerns the ancient fossil found in Gua Naga Mas, in Perak, Malaysia. The photos were not published with the letters.

No protection for ancient cave fossil
In a cave known as Gua Naga Mas in Perak, there is a fossil of a mammal embedded in the cave wall. It was found in 1992. No real tests have been done, but the fossil is thought to be a leopard or other cat, and may date to the Pleistocene, 1.8 million to 10,000 years BP.

The Dept of Museums and Antiquities erected a sign board at the base of the steps leading up to the cave. My first visit to the site was in 1996.

On subsequent visits, by comparing my photos over the years, I could see that pieces of the fossil have been removed. It is very disheartening to find that unscrupulous people have been removing these ancient bones, and that nothing has been done to protect them.

In Oct 2008 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 SE Asia. It is really sad to see that the authorities have done nothing to protect this site and to promote it's importance.

I hope someone from the Museums or Tourism Depts will read this and take some action to preserve such an important piece of Malaysia's past.
Liz Price

The fossil outlined by reflective markers

See more on Caves of Malaysia.

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