Malaysia has designated the Kota Kinabalu Wetland (Ramsar Site no. 2290) as its seventh Wetland of International Importance. The Site is a mangrove swamp in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City on the northern coast of Sabah State.
It supports a range of biodiversity, with 30 mangrove species and associated plants, 90 species of resident and migratory birds and five species of reptiles. The Site supports three globally threatened species, including the critically endangered mangrove Bruguiera hainesii, and two vulnerable water birds, the Chinese egret (Egretta eulophotes) and the lesser adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus). It is also important as a nursery ground for 21 species of fish and aquatic species including crustaceans, molluscs, horseshoe crabs and jellyfish.
The Ramsar Site acts as a green lung and buffer zone for the city. Due to its urban location, it has high potential value for tourism and educational and recreational activities; but the wetland is also exposed to a number of threats such as pollution, the over-exploitation of resources from fishing and harvesting of aquatic resources. Such mangrove forests used to cover the entire coastline of Kota Kinabalu City, but due to increasing urbanization, the Site now supports the last remaining example of this ecosystem, and so it is of great cultural importance.