KOTA KINABALU: Do enjoy and aramai ti (Kadazandusun term for let’s be merry) this harvest festival with one exception – stay off the bush meats.
As Sabahans begin their Kaamatan celebrations today, WWF Malaysia has reminded all about the importance of wildlife conservation.
It says the best way to contribute is to avoid buying or consuming wild meat and wildlife-based products.
“This Kaamatan, let us be responsible by appreciating the forests and wildlife that we have been blessed with. Let us also send a strong signal to poachers of wildlife and traders to stop their act.
“Together, everything is possible,” WWF executive director Datuk Dr Dionysus Sharma said in a statement yesterday.
He said a survey by WWF showed that 56% of the people interviewed consumed wildlife meat, with 14% admitting that they bought wildlife products.
He said the bearded pig (509 hunted down) and sambar deer (120) were among the most popular wildlife hunted, adding that 85% of the animals caught were for the hunters’ own consumption.
“The others are the pangolin, snake, crocodile, monitor lizard, monkey, civet, and barking deer,’’ he said, adding that turtle eggs were also among the most popular items.
The survey from May to June 2015 sampled 353 households in 66 villages spanning Tenom, Nabawan, Pensiangan and Ulu Pinangah.
Dr Sharma said an earlier wildlife trade study from April to July 2014 monitored 871 animals, of which 137 were native to Sabah.
The bearded pig had topped the list of traded mammals back then (86 pigs), followed by the sambar deer (21).
He said many of Sabah’s unique wildlife species were seriously declining in numbers due to illegal and unsustainable hunting, loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict.