A deep interest in forestry prompted Januarie Kulis, 37, to turn this field into a career. She has been the Niah National Park Ranger since 2011, and has never regretted leaving the city’s busy atmosphere and making flora and fauna as her ‘office’.
Born in Sibu, Sarawak, Januarie is a graduate in Bachelor of Forestry Science from Universiti Putra Malaysia and has been with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation since 2006.
As park ranger, Januarie is responsible for managing overall field operations at Niah National Park including protection and conservation, management and eco-tourism.
“When I graduated from university, I chose to work in this field. I wanted to be a part of the process of conservation and protection of this treasure. Now, I have the opportunity to be directly involved in conserving and protecting the invaluable natural world.”
While this career seems tough and far from the perception of every woman’s dream job, Januarie never considered her job as a challenge because she was doing the job she loved.
For Januarie, many valuable memories and experiences can be enjoyed that may not be available through other careers. She is able to meet and engage with different communities through the programmes conducted.
“Many tourists think that all national parks in Sarawak are the same until they visit every national park in the state. Each national park in Sarawak has its own value and provides a different experience for each visitor.
“In Niah National Park, there are four significant attractions, which are archaeological historical sites, swiftlet nests (sarang burung walit), limestone and biodiversity,” she said.
Niah Cave is in the hinterland of Miri, Sarawak and has been gazetted as a historic site under the authority of the Sarawak Museum and located within the Niah National Park which is protected by the National Park and Nature Reserve Ordinance.
Januarie said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Niah National Park had to be closed for a period of time. However, they are ready to reopen the national park with stricter Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in compliance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).
“The tourism industry plays an important role in connecting this national park with the public as well as generating economic income. National parks can provide many benefits in terms of physical, spiritual and mental.”
“Those who love nature will be able to enjoy peace at this park. Eco-tourism has many benefits and can build a healthy society,” she said.
Eco-tourism is one of the main themes of tourism activities in Sarawak. Now, many city dwellers have begun to appreciate the values of nature as a therapeutic tool to get away from the congestion of city life.
The flora and fauna found in Sarawak is unique and has an undeniable diversity, both for researchers and the general public. Iconic species such as orangutans, rafflesia flowers and a variety of habitats provide an exciting experience for tourists.
Meanwhile, according to a Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) spokesperson, efforts to make Gua Niah National Park recognised as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) is underway.
“Niah National Park has been listed in the category of ‘MIXED PROPERTIES’ which means it has both advantages in terms of nature and culture that can be highlighted and has the opportunity to compete with other candidates in the world,” she said.
Niah National Park: https://niahnationalpark.my/