JOHOR BARU: A total of 298 wire snares and 23 illegal camps set by poachers to trap animals, especially tigers, were discovered in jungles in Johor from January to July this year.
The discovery was made during a boots on the ground programme called Ops Belang, said state Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Salman Saaban (pic).
Ops Belang, which was started by the government to protect tigers and their habitat as well as to combat poachers, is carried out in collaboration with the Johor Forestry Department and Johor National Parks Corporation.“We know where their hotspots are as we found many of the snares around the Panti Forest Reserve and Endau Rompin National Park during our patrols under Ops Belang, ” he said yesterday.
Salman pointed out that the poachers would buy tools such as wire cables from hardware shops to make the snares.
He believed the poachers also received help from locals, who provided them with information.
The poachers, Salman said, would stay in the jungle for one to two weeks, hoping to get an animal trapped in the snares.
Although the poachers did not rely on firearms to hunt the animals, they were usually armed with parangs and axes, he added.
He said Perhilitan believed that the poachers targeted certain animals such as tigers, as enforcement officers would sometimes find carcasses of wild boars, mouse deer and serow that were left untouched by the poachers.
“The price of a tiger can reach up to RM100, 000 in the black market, ” he said, adding that many of the poachers came from Indochina countries and worked in factories here.
Some of them had work permits while others entered the country illegally, he said.
“They hunt here as many animals are extinct back in their home countries, ” he added.
He also said Perhilitan could only take action against the poachers if they were found to be in possession of wildlife or animal parts under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Perhilitan sent two teams of five enforcement personnel into the jungle twice a month to patrol the area, he added.
He said the government’s efforts in protecting wildlife would receive a major boost with the involvement of the police force, which is expected to be part of an enforcement operation in the near future.
“Having the police force in the wildlife enforcement operation in future is a good move, ” Salman said.