MNS members want details on wildlife casualties from Kuala Baram fires

Vast destruction of flora and fauna in Kuala Baram forest fires.

MIRI: Nature lovers here want accurate details on the casualties to wildlife caused by the devastating forest fires in the Kuala Baram district over the past 26 days.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) members said there must be vast losses to the animal population due to the fires that ravaged about 1,500ha since Aug 1.

In their Miri chat groups, MNS members said the wildfires posed health and property woes not only to humans but also wildlife.

"At present, no one in the government has spoken about this subject.

"It seems that wildlife and animals are not important at all," said one MNS member.

Another member said that wildlife on the ground that suffered the most were reptiles, such as snakes, and tortoises and those that depended on the trees such as monkeys, birds, squirrels and others.

Another message said the animals were losing their habitat and lives due to the fires, with reptiles encroaching into human settlements in their bid to escape.

In Miri, firefighters have helped rescue these wildlife as well as capture them if they entered residential areas.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong had said before that Bomba personnel would help residents whose homes were invaded by runaway wildlife.

"Our firemen are trained to handle reptiles such as snakes and monitor lizards.

"When we are alerted by the public to these creatures, we will catch them and hand them to the wildlife authorities," he had said.

Miri firemen and Civil Defence units have been catching big snakes and monitor lizards that have escaped into residential areas.

The latest episodes of forest fires in Kuala Baram have ended, with the Air Pollutant Index showing healthy air since Monday (Aug 26).

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