KOTA KINABALU: A new team of rangers specialising in anti-poaching operations in Sabah has just been hired, following weeks of intense scrutiny, training and final selection.
This team of 25 people for the Sabah Forestry Department's Protect Unit will start work on Sept 1.
Sabah Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini said this new lineup of specially trained rangers is expected to boost the enforcement capacity of the state government, especially in tackling poaching.
He said the selected candidates were put through written, physical and mental aptitude testing, followed by an interview.
"This was to ensure that the best people for the demanding job of a Protect Unit member are selected," he said.
Mashor said these candidates must be able to follow instructions and ultimately carry on the tasks assigned to the highest level.
Project partner Dr Benoit Goossens, who is also Director of Danau Girang Field Centresaid prior to this, a two-day selection course involving 70 out of 900 applicants was held in early July, followed by a special unit training for 30 of them.
"This came following an allocation of RM4mil by Sime Darby Foundation to the Sabah Forestry Department to increase the capacity of its Protect Unit," he said.
The 21-day training was carried out at Institut Perhutanan Sabah (IPS) in Telupid.
Dr Goossens said during the training, 30 of the best participants were taught to confidently and safely conduct counter-poaching patrolling in a tropical forest environment.
They were also trained to conduct, under supervision, basic intelligence gathering, investigations, raids and takedowns in both the forest and urban environment by foot and vehicle.
At the end of the programme, 25 were hired as members of the Protect Unit and appointed as contract staff of the Sabah Forestry Department.
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