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Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday January 30, 2014 MYT 8:24:42 AM
by isabelle lai
A WWF researcher recently found a sun bear paw trapped in a snare at the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
PETALING JAYA: A Malayan sun bear carcass and several snares were found near the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC).
Experts have described the find as clear proof that poaching there continues unabated.
The discovery was made last Thursday by a WWF-Malaysia researcher, who stumbled upon the carcass and snares after checking the jungle trail close to the Gerik-Jeli Highway.
In a joint statement, WWF-Malaysia and Traffic South-East Asia said the carcass was found with a limb still caught in a snare and the animal died “a slow and agonising death”.
Traffic South-East Asia regional director Dr Chris R. Shepherd said poaching for trade was the most chronic threat to Malaysia’s wildlife and questioned the effectiveness of the Belum-Temengor Joint Enforcement Task Force set up in 2010.
The wildlife-rich forest complex has long posed an enforcement challenge as it is a magnet for poachers and wildlife traffickers.
“The rising incidences close to the highway should be warning enough that poachers enjoy easy access to the animals,” he said.
Dr Shepherd called for more frequent joint enforcement patrols which alone could have an impact on the poaching rate.
He called upon the Perak Mentri Besar and state officials to address the problem.
The latest discovery is the third involving sun bears in recent years.
WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said snares do not discriminate the choice of victim.
“This time it was a sun bear. Next, it could be a tiger.
“This does not bode well for the BTFC, which is one of three priority sites for tigers in Malaysia,” he said.
Dr Sharma said this was why WWF-Malaysia was strongly advocating a National Tiger Task Force that would ensure better coordinated enforcement.
Between 2008 and 2010, 142 snares were discovered and deactivated in the BTFC by a WWF-Malaysia monitoring unit working with the authorities.
In the same period, Traffic South-East Asia recorded the loss of over 400 animals, including tigers.
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