KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) issued a stern warning to all plantation and timber industry operators to ensure they protect the environment and wildlife in their respective areas.
Shafie called the recent brutal killing and de-tusking of a bull Bornean Pygmy elephant, which might have been facilitated by plantation security guards, as a "selfish act for personal gain".
"It is hurting Sabah's reputation as a responsible producer of timber and palm oil," he said Thursday (Oct 3), adding that killing an animal protected by state laws.
He said all staff must be properly briefed on standard operating procedures to handle wildlife-human conflict.
"Our pygmy elephants are endangered. We cannot and will not allow it to go extinct in Sabah," the Chief Minister added.
He said plantation owners and smallholders have time and again been advised on handling such problems, including calling in the Wildlife Department to help carry out control of elephant-human conflicts.
"To me, it is no excuse to kill. It should not have happened. I am told this is the first time that elephant poachers have been arrested although such crime has been going on for years," he added.
Shafie said that Sabah's wildlife is as much a part of the state's natural capital as timber and palm oil because eco-tourism brings much-needed revenue to the state.
"Sabah and private industries and groups have invested so much into wildlife conservation that I refuse to allow rogue members of society to commit such crimes," he said.
He said the state would not hesitate to act against plantation or other industries if they failed to ensure that their staff were not committing illegal acts that threatened wildlife and the environment.
Meanwhile, in Tawau, Sahabat Felda chief settler General Linjal urged the public and Felda settlers not speculate on police investigations that implicated one of the settlers, who was among six people arrested by police on Wednesday (Oct 2).
"Let the police do their work, I cannot make comments at this moment except to advise all Felda settlers not to break the law or get involved in crimes," Linjal said in Tawau on Thursday.
Six people including two plantation guards were arrested by police on Wednesday in police investigations into the killing of a bull elephant at Sungai Udin in Dumpas in Tawau.
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