Promoting sustainable harvest of crocodiles

The crocodile that was removed from a fish pond in Bekenu, Miri.

KUCHING: The licensing of any activity relating to crocodiles in Sarawak including possession, killing and trade is now under the purview of the Controller of Wild Life, which is currently the state Forestry director.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) said any application to carry out activities such as hunting, capturing, selling, importing and exporting of crocodiles or any recognisable part or derivative should be submitted to the Controller of Wild Life.

Executing these activities without a valid licence from the Controller of Wild Life is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998 and liable to a one-year jail term and RM10,000 fine.

SFC was only a managing agent in the administrative structure for wild life management in Sarawak, the corporation said in a statement.

“Despite the down listing of estuarine crocodiles from CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix I to Appendix II, it remains a protected species under the state’s Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998.

“SFC reiterates that the public, when encountering crocodiles, should not take matters into their own hands but instead inform the nearest Forest Department or SFC office for appropriate action to be taken,” it added.

The corporation was responding to a call by Sibuti MP Ahmad Lai Bujang for SFC to issue licences to the locals for the capture and trade of estuarine crocodiles found in the Sibuti and Niah rivers.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Forestry’s Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) removed another crocodile at Kelulut, Bekenu near Miri on Thursday, involving the capture of a 2.1m female crocodile from a fish pond.

“Our SWAT received a report from the fish pond owner on Tuesday that a crocodile was seen lurking in his pond.

Responding to the report, a team from SFC Miri was dispatched to the location.

“A baited hook was set up to lure and capture the crocodile.

“The crocodile took the bait this morning and it was immediately pulled ashore, restrained and transferred to the Benaya Crocodile Farm,” SFC said.

With this capture, SFC has removed two crocodiles from Bekenu this month.

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