Terengganu bans hunting of flying fox

PETALING JAYA: There will be no more hunting of Malayan flying fox in Terengganu. The ban follows a state government decision to stop issuing new hunting licences for the species.

This makes Terengganu the third state in the country to ban hunting of the bat, after Sarawak (in 1998) and Johor (2010).

The directive came after Te­­rengganu’s state chairman of In­­dustry, Trade and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Toh Chin Yaw raised the issue at a state executive council meeting on Jan 18.

This was after the bats made a spectacular re-appearance over the Bukit Kapah area in Kuala Berang, in the Hulu Terengganu district. The sightings came after a three-year “dry spell”.

However, these sightings were accompanied by gunshots from hunters, prompting concerned citizens to highlight the declining bat population to the state government.

The current licensing system, in place since 1972, does not restrict the number of bat hunting licences given to an individual.

The licence for the fox, which includes both the mainland species Pteropus vampyrus and island species Pteropus hypomelanus, is valid for three months and allows a bag limit of 50 heads.

Environmentalists say it is time for a policy change, in light of scientific studies which indicate that the bats’ population is on the decline due to a combination of habitat loss and over-hunting.

Last year, a total of 10 licences were issued in Terengganu, 87 in Pahang, 33 in Negri Sembilan, 60 in Perak and one in Kedah. These brings the total to 192, a significant drop from the 541 issued in 2005.

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