Crackdown on wildlife abuse

Sarawak launches raids, rescues wildlife, begins awareness drive

Hunting of wildlife for exotic feasts and to be kept as trophies will no longer be accepted as a norm in the state, says the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

Its chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said enforcement units had carried out numerous raids throughout the state against wildlife abuse.

“We have rescued many rare animals during the raids at urban markets in Miri, Kuala Baram, Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Matang, Serian, Bau, Sibu, Julau, Selangau, Bintulu and Kidurong over the past week.

“Among the many species seized from wildlife traders and keepers are live barred eagle-owl, live buffy fish owl, live blue-crowned hanging parrot, live spotted dove, other live birds, live terrapins, live tortoises, live pythons, slaughtered pythons and wildboar parts,” he said.

Zolkipli said they sought the help of the police, the local councils and the Sarawak Forestry Department to help in the raids at wet markets in commercial and residential areas.

“A police report was also lodged in one of the raids against those caught possessing the wildlife.

“However, many of these wildlife traders managed to escape before our enforcement teams arrived, leaving behind the animals,” he said.

Zolkipli said the statewide crackdown against wildlife abuse and exploitation would not stop as the corporation “means business”.

He said aside from enforcement raids, posters would be put up in wet markets, warning traders against selling wildlife and other protected species.

“Education and awareness campaigns too are important.

“Our long-term goal is to stop the abuse, trading and consuming of wildlife,” he said.

Zolkipli came here with a high-profile team to personally look into issues of wildlife abuse after a series of articles was highlighted in The Star.

He also announced the setting up of SFC hotlines in Kuching against wildlife abuse.

The hotlines are (019-885 9996, 016-856 5564), Sibu (019-819 0140, 019-889 4474), Bintulu (019-822 3449) and Miri (019-822 4566, 019829 0994).

Source: Stephen Then, Star Metro