A 36ha fenced up deer farm in Bukit Belata forest reserve in Hulu Selangor was demolished by the Selangor Forestry Department recently.
About 20 forest department personnel and policemen with two bulldozers took part in the demolition exercise.
The department’s assistant director (operations and enforcement), Mohd Yussainy Md Yusop, who visited the site on June 15, said the deer farm had encroached into the forest reserve.
“We had given the owner, a prominent businessman, a one-month notice to demolish the structures he had built and vacate the area.
“We are strict on enforcement and do not give any priviledges to any VIP.
“When I visited the site a month ago, there were about 500 deer at the farm with a booth selling deer meat.
“Today, we demolished the structures and replanted trees in the area. However, the farm owner had removed all the deer before the demolition.
“We had to dig deeper into the soil to replant the trees as the top soil is damaged due to the animals,” he said.
Yussainy added that it would take about 10 years to rehabilitate the forest from the various activities at the farm.
The department was acting on complaints by residents that the farm had been operating for more than two years in the forest reserve.
Under Section 47 (1) of the National Forestry Act 1984 (Amendment 1993), those entering the forest can be fined RM10,000 or jailed three years or both.
Earlier, Selangor state environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said the state also had the right to confiscate the deer if the operator failed to adhere to the one-month notice.
Wong said preliminary investigations conducted by the department revealed that the operator had deliberately encroached into the forest reserve.
She said people had been encroaching into the forest reserve all these years and the department had a tough time handling the situation.
Hulu Selangor district officer Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan confirmed that the deer farm had applied for a permit from the land office a couple of times.
“We did not approve the permit as it was under the Selangor Forestry Department’s jurisdiction and the farm was inside the Bukit Belata forest reserve,’’ he said.