KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department is going after hunters in its bid to curb illegal trade of bushmeat in the state.
Its enforcement chief Augustine Tuuga said they arrested two groups of hunters last week as part of this effort.
He declined to provide details of the arrests but said the hunters were found to be in possession of wild boar, barking deer, pangolin and civet cats.
“We are going after the suppliers of bushmeat and we think this is the best approach in dealing with this problem,” he told The Star on Tuesday.
He said they were of the view that going after people selling wildlife meat at "tamu" (farmers markets) in interior districts such as Nabawan can lead to dangerous situations for enforcement staff.
“The worry is that the situation can suddenly turn awry when our staff seize the bushmeat. There are not only the vendors but also hundreds of people at the markets,” Augustine added.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun had said that department personnel had been threatened when carrying out checks at the Nabawan tamu.
It was also reported last November that a conservationist was threatened when he tried taking photos of bushmeat on sale at the market.
On Tuesday, the media here received an anonymous e-mail questioning why the department had not taken action against the rampant sale of bushmeat in Nabawan.
A group calling itself Wildlife Watchers of Sabah also sent to the media photos of bushmeat sale in Nabawan as recently as April 30.