KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Forestry officials are investigating claims of illegal logging and poaching at the Lower Kinabatangan Forest Reserve (LKWS).
Its director Datuk Sam Mannan said though he was not aware of illegal logging in the area, he will instruct his men to investigate the claims immediately.
“This is the first I’ve heard of illegal logging in the area.
“Poaching maybe, but illegal logging? Where do they carry the logs to?” he asked.
Mannan said that the lower Kinabatangan region was mostly made up of swamps and a small forest reserve.
The matter was highlighted by research NGO Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goosens.
He said that illegal logging and poaching continue to threaten the LKWS with at least two iconic animals — the Sumatran rhino and tambadau — disappearing from the area.
He claimed that within the last six months, wildlife wardens patrolling the lower Kinabatangan have reported several acts of illegal logging and poaching.
He said the illegal logging had seriously damaged the remaining small patches of forest in lower Kinabatangan, further reducing wildlife habitats there.
Dr Goosens said the illegal logging signs had been recorded within Lots 5 and 6 of the LKWS, near the Danau Girang Field Centre.
Evidence of illegal logging namely tree stumps as well as poaching ie camera trap pictures of hunters are continuously found in the Kinabatangan area, he added.