KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is likely to take steps to fully protect Sunda pangolins amid a high demand for its meat.
The state is mulling over fully protecting the pangolin which is currently allowed to be hunted with licence under Schedule Two of the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997, said state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.
“If it is re-listed under the Enactments Schedule 1, then a complete ban on hunting can be enforced as it will become fully protected.
“It is high time for us to look into the status of the pangolin in the state and within the wildlife enactment,” he said.
There are growing concerns that over-hunting triggered by high demand might make the mammal extinct in Sabah.
The modus operandi of these groups involved in the trade is to process and treat pangolin as meat products, making it difficult to be detected when packaged properly.
Masidi said a few years ago, state wildlife rangers intercepted a consignment of five tonnes of pangolin meat in the Sandakan area.
“It was shocking to me. Can you imagine the number of pangolins killed over a long period of time,” he said, adding that his ministry was seriously considering placing the pangolins under full protection after a complete study of the extinction threat.
He said like all wildlife conservation efforts, it was important to create awareness among locals through education and enforcement.