KOTA KINABALU: One of the state’s dense forest reserves – Tabin in Lahad Datu – has been found to be vulnerable to poaching activities, says Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga.
He said during a week-long crackdown operation, Ops Khazanah, at the reserve, they found 62 snares, 51 bullets and broken pieces of firearms.
The joint operation was conducted by the General Operations Force (PGA) Sabah Brigade (Battalion 15), the Sabah Forestry Department, the Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia.
“During the operation, officials also found five deer antlers, a banteng horn, and several elephant parts, ” Tuuga said after the closing ceremony of Ops Khazanah at the Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday.
He said they also arrested a person for possessing 22 birds without permits.
The operation, from Nov 19 to 24, involved 69 people in five teams at different areas in Tabin to track poaching activities.
The teams were also assigned to investigate and gather information on poaching activities, including identifying weapons, traps and campsites used by poachers.
The Sabah Wildlife Department and WWF-Malaysia were also identifying wildlife tracks to determine the species in their areas.
“The collaboration marks the start of a new and enhanced way to combat wildlife crime, ” Tuuga said.
He said more of such joint patrols would be conducted in future.
State chief conservator of forests Datuk Mashor Mohd Jaini said the responsibility to protect Sabah’s forests and wildlife required the commitment from all parties.
“The recent success of the joint ops that led to the capture of wildlife crime offenders in Pitas and Sugut proved to be a fruitful collaboration between the two agencies in our bid to fight wildlife crimes, ” he said.
Though Ops Khazanah has ended, the Protect team – a special anti-poaching arm under the Sabah Forestry Department – will continue to patrol the borders of Tabin and other forests in Sabah.
Also present at the closing ceremony were representatives from nearby plantations who were encouraged to play a bigger role in the fight against poaching activities.