Saturday, April 26, 2008

Crimes in Sabah jungle

Not only the city folks are subjected to the risk of crimes, even the wildlife in Sabah jungle are facing the same fate. There is a total lack of enforcement in Sabah national parks.

Organize poaching has became rampant and endangered animals are being killed and their meats sold in restaurants in Sabah. Poachers are also targeting rhinos, Sabah pygmy elephant and orang utan. Even licensed hunters are suspected of illegal killing. Those poachers and illegal hunters are bold in encroaching into gazetted national parks to kill helpless animals. The national parks are supposed to be a protected area but the poachers with gun rule the place.

The state government need to rope in the army to patrol parks and forest reserve to minimize the threat of poaching. Considering the slackness of Sabah Polis in curbing the syabu menace and illegal immigrants, they will be equally ineffective in helping the Park Rangers. Armed patrol by the army would be more effective.

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Source: (Apr 26, 2008)

Poaching for trouble

Kota Kinabalu: Poaching has become more serious in Sabah, particularly in the Danum Valley, where poachers are even threatening wildlife rangers.

According to the Wildlife Department there are worrying indications that illegal hunters are getting bolder when it comes to trespassing into forest reserves with the intent of tracking down totally protected animals.

"Illegal hunting is quite serious now," said its Director Laurentius Ambu.

"In almost all areas in the East Coast, we have (detected) the problem," he said, after a closed-door meeting with the police, Sabah Forestry Department and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) at the Sabah police contingent headquarters in Kepayan.

He pointed out that his rangers have discovered, through roadblocks mounted on various jungle routes, that people have hunted without licence to do so.

"From our roadblocks we detected two cases of poaching in 2003, 2004 (four cases), 2005 (two cases), 2006 (three cases) and one last year É all these happened in Danum Valley," he revealed.

Laurentius was also worried that some hunters, granted licences to hunt certain animals, were also targeting totally protected animals, instead.

"We have also detected in the Kulamba Wildlife Reserve that several people, under the pretext (of legal hunting) were actually targeting rhinos," he said, adding the worst case of poaching of rhinos took place in 2001 in the Kalabakan Forest Reserve.

"These poachers kill various protected animals and we have reasons to believe their numbers are increasing."

Sabah Commissioner of Police, Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim, who chaired the meeting, said the discussion was held to establish where police could come in to assist enforcement and prevention of poaching activities.

With the eyes of the world focused on the Danum Valley, Maliau Basin and Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve - home to the endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros, Bornean pygmy elephant, clouded leopards and Orang Utan among others - he said collaboration between the agencies was important.

"We do not deny there are organised poachers.

"We will work with each other to beef up enforcement and prevention and possibly also in publicity (against poaching). It is important to preserve our nature and wildlife," he said.

WWF's Borneo Programme Chief Technical Officer Dr Rahimatsah Amat said the agencies need to work together to implement the law.

"Our country is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), so that is why this meeting is important to talk about actions that should be taken.

"People (poachers) now are getting more aggressive. They think they are strong and try to show their so-called invincibility. Many of the (wildlife) officers have experienced it," he said.

"But maybe with the police (presence) things will be different. With their expertise, the police are one of the key people who can assist in the matter."

Noor Rashid said police have received reports that poachers had threatened wildlife rangers.

"It is not to the extent of firing warning shots but the poachers do not have any regard for the rangers and also verbally intimidate them."

He believed there was a brighter chance of stemming poaching in Sabah with the collaboration between the agencies and WWF, or possibly other non-governmental organisations.

"That is why we need police officers to be in the frame.

If the poachers flee then it will be better that is the idea on prevention, as long as they do not enter the forest reserves," he said.

Noor Rashid warned that those found poaching face prosecution under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 or Forest Enactment 1968.

Laurentius said people caught hunting or in possession of totally protected species face a mandatory jail sentence of between six months and five years.

"People found hunting with illegal firearms also can be charged under the Firearm Act," Noor Rashid said, adding people found threatening wildlife officers face being charged under the law.

He also said police were planning to disseminate information to residents in rural areas, who depend on hunting to sustain a living, on the need to have hunting licences.

"We are very fair, we understand that kind of living but we will not tolerate poaching," he said.


Source: (Apr 24, 2008)

Police in the hunt for poachers

LAHAD DATU: Police will now be directly involved with combating illegal wildlife poaching in Sabah said Deputy State Police Commissioner Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Ghani.

Following the ‘Coordination of the Wildlife Hunting Enforcement in Lahad Datu’ meeting, Abdul Razak said that the existing enforcement activities currently carried out in Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve jointly by Sabah Forestry Department (SFD), Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), Sabah Foundation and WWF-Malaysia should be backed up by the police.

During the meeting, it was reported that both WWF’s Rhino Patrol Team and the SFD’s Wildlife Hunting Enforcers had been threatened by encroachers within the Greater Danum Valley and Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve. The Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve and Danum Valley Conservation Area are vital habitats for orang-utan, Sumatran rhinoceros, Bornean pygmy elephant, banteng, clouded leopard and sun bear. The most critical and endangered wildlife species is the Sumatran rhinoceros, where the population is now less than 25 individuals, according to WWF-Malaysia.

A strategic plan to address this issue was tabled by Abdul Razak on possible solutions to handle the encroachers into these protected areas. Among the solutions was to have a public awareness campaign to educate and inform members of the public. This will be followed by a systematic and strategic enforcement within the forest reserves.

He also mentioned that the relevant government authorities will use the existing enactments (Forest Enactment 1968 and Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997) to prosecute all encroachers with the support of the Police.

Meanwhile Deputy Director of SWD, Augustine Tuuga reported that the aggressiveness of the poachers may due to the fact that they are drug addicts themselves and poaching of “exotic” wildlife has quick financial returns as there are restaurants which will purchase such meat at premium prices.

A monitoring programme will be initiated to look into the demand of wildlife meat in restaurants in Sabah.


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