Trans-boundary poaching activities are a threat to totally protected orang utans in Sarawak.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation security and asset protection unit general manager Sani Bakar said there was evidence of such activities in national parks in the state and the poachers were being tracked by the various security agencies.
“Their illegal trade routes have been identified and being monitored,” he said in a talk to Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) undergraduates from the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at its campus last Thursday .
His topic was “Challenges to Law Enforcement in Sarawak.”
Present were Unep/Unesco Great Apes Survival project technical support chief John Payne and officials of the Malaysian Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Sani said that Sarawak Forestry was working closely with WCS and Indonesian authorities to identify issues and exchange information to better co-ordinate enforcement activities.
He said that WCS was surveying the orang utan population in the Lanjak Entimau wildlife sanctuary and Batang Ai National Park.
“The state will use data from the survey to help manage this threatened species.”
The Lanjak Entimau sanctuary is home to most of the orang utans in Indonesia and Sarawak.
Sani said that recent international reports of orang utan habitats being converted into oil palm estates did not occur in Sarawak.
He said the habitats in the state were designated as totally protected areas and anyone who contravened the law would face a fine and one year’s jail.
Sani said the Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Matang Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near Kuching had rehabilitated 21 and 12 orang utans respectively.
Of the number, 24 were rescued and surrendered to the centres by locals and authorities. The other nine were born at the centres.