KOTA KINABALU: A couple has been jailed for 18 months for possessing meat from the protected bearded pig without a license in eastern Sabah.
The Filipino couple, Christopher Ocang Andales, 38, and Jean Flores Tinapay, 41, who are plantation workers, were arrested at about 8am on Feb 6 at an estate in the Kinabatangan area, near Sandakan.
According to the facts of case, the duo were travelling on a motorcycle when they were asked to pull over for inspection during a Wildlife Department operation.
Upon inspection, wildlife officials found four sacks filled with the meat totalling 74kg, as well as six handmade bombs believed to have been used to hunt animals.
Sessions court judge Ummu Kalthom Abd Samad meted out the sentence following arguments from the prosecuting officer Silvester Saimin.
The duo will serve their sentence from their date of arrest.
They will be referred to the Immigration Department for further action after completing their sentence.
The bearded pig –known for its namesake facial hair – is a protected species in Sabah but can be hunted with a license.
It is considered a “Vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and over-hunting in many areas across its range.
Bearded pig populations in Peninsular Malaysia have declined by more than 80% in the last 60 years due to deforestation while in Borneo, the species has also been declining quickly as oil palm plantations expand.
In addition, the old tradition of bearded pig hunting is a major factor of wild meat consumption in Sabah's non-Muslim rural areas, and this has caused the species to be rare in many places.
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