sign in a cave in Laos

17 September 2013

Gunung Kanthan v Lafarge

Over the past 6 months, I have spent a lot of time with emails about Gunung Kanthan, joining those who are trying to save the hill from being quarried by Lafarge.

Gunung Kanthan is home to Gua Kanthan, one of the best caves in Perak, Malaysia and nicknamed as Cathedral Cave because of the huge chamber inside. The cave is also home to a variety of cave fauna. The most important inhabitants are the trapdoors spiders, named after the cave, Liphistius kanthan.
Various letters have been published in the Malaysian papers about saving the spiders and the cave. Also a report on Mongabay. My 2012 blog on Gunung Kanthan.

Gunung Kanthan is also home to other endemic species, such as Paraboea vulpina, a plant belonging to the African Violet family. It houses other endangered species of limestone flora. Two species of snail are endemic to the hill. The elusive serow, or mountain goat, also lives on the hill.

There are also crinoid fossils. One geological report, according to MNS, [I don't know the source] says Gunung Kanthan is older than other limestone hills in the Kinta Valley, at 425-500 myo. However more recent studies show that the hill is actually younger than this.

There are several temples, including cave temples of various religions, around the hill. Locals have established fruit and veg farms as well as fish ponds.

The 1991 MNS conservation report on the Kinta Valley lists Gunung Kanthan as amongst the four most important hills for conservation, based on botanical, geological, zoological and culture/ recreation aspects. Of the hour hills, Gunung Kanthan is the only one important in all four aspects.

Despite all these important reasons for saving the hill, Lafarge seem intent on continuing to quarry the area and have no apparent concern for the endemic flora and fauna. Despite the fact that some of it is listed on IUCN Red List as being critically endangered or endangered, again Lafarge don't seem to care.

Lafarge boast about their preservation of biodiversity etc, but this doesn't seem to apply in Malaysia.

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