KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is speeding up the process of making pangolins a totally protected species amid the increasing number of cases of trafficking and hunting.
“There is a real urgency to give it full protection,” state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said after unveiling the Negaraku Livery on a MASwings ATR 72-500 aircraft here on Tuesday.
He said the Wildlife Department was preparing the necessary documents to upgrade the protection status of pangolins to be submitted to the Sabah Cabinet.
Sunda pangolins are the only species found in Sabah and are protected under Part 1 Schedule 2 of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment, allowing for them to be hunted with permits.
The upgrade would see pangolins being listed under Schedule 1 of the Enactment that would ban their hunting altogether.
In the International Union Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species, Sunda pangolins are on the critically endangered list.
Masidi said that upgrading the protection status of pangolins would send a strong message to poachers and wildlife traffickers that Sabah was not making light of the animal being hunted illegally or its parts being traded.
Last month, Sabah Customs Department officers seized eight tonnes of pangolin scales at the Sepanggar port here.
The pangolin scales were believed to have been bound for China, although their origin has yet to be determined.