Shafie: Stricter enforcement at entry points needed to curb wildlife smuggling

KOTA KINABALU: There should be stricter enforcement at entry points to detect the smuggling of wildlife, says Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said the recent discovery of smuggled wild crocodiles in Tawau, believed to be from Kalimantan, Indonesia, was a wake-up call for better enforcement to be implemented.

"What is important is to intensify operations to contain such incidents, and to first go to their entry points, such as airports and ports," he said.

Asked whether independent audits on crocodile farms were necessary at this point, he said this could be considered, but would not be as efficient.

He said such smuggling activities usually come in by sea or air.

"So, the best way to stop it is at the airports or ports," he said.

Crocodile conservationists have urged the authorities, especially the Sabah Wildlife Department to carry out a full audit on crocodile farms in the state following the shocking seizure of 220 wild saltwater crocodiles smuggled in from Kalimantan on Saturday (May 18).

On Saturday, Sabah wildlife rangers working with intelligence from the Eastern Sabah Security Command raided a swamp area in Pasir Putih, Tawau where the smuggled crocodiles were found.

Two Malaysians and two Indonesians were arrested, and investigations into the syndicate are ongoing.