KOTA KINABALU: State authorities are banding together to combat poaching amid evidence that illegal hunters are using explosives to kill wildlife in protected areas.
Describing the problem as a “scourge”, Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said a five-year state-wide anti-poaching and trade strategy was being finalised to enable the authorities to pool resources in combating illegal hunting.
“We will be discussing this when we meet with the other custodians of protected areas and forest reserves, including the Forestry Department, Sabah Parks and Yayasan Sabah,” he said.
He said Sabah’s wildlife faced multiple threats, including habitat loss and overhunting, which resulted in a sharp decline in numbers across Borneo and a huge “shrinkage” in distribution.
“Wildlife is severely hunted, poisoned and now killed by explosives in our protected areas.
“Sabah should not be a place where such barbaric activities threaten its wildlife. We should act now if we want this to stop,” added Ambu.
The latest incident involved a female bearded wild boar found dead in a forest corridor of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary on March 2, according to Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goossens.
“The animal had clearly been killed by an explosive device commonly used by poachers and referred to as boom babi,” he said.
The wild boar was found in the middle of the corridor, which is located less than 100m from an oil palm plantation and only 700m from the field centre.
“One of my students, working on wild boar landscape ecology, found it while surveying the area.
“The belacan-laced explosive device would have been planted inside a food substance and hidden in the soil in order to target and kill a feeding boar,” added Dr Goossens.
He said the incident was reported immediately to the Kinabatangan district wildlife officer.
Department senior officer Jimli Perijin said the use of explosives was not only a vicious way of killing an animal but would be hazardous to anyone consuming its meat.
“There might be residual toxic chemicals in the meat,” added Perijin.
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