KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s wildlife enforcers are going online to seek out people selling turtle eggs at various e-commerce platforms.
“We are trying to trace and identify them. Hopefully, we can do something about this,” said Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga amid a detection of online sales of the endangered turtle eggs.
He was commenting about some people, believed to be based in Sabah, trying to sell turtle eggs via social media platforms.
Tuuga said that over the years, they had been going all out to stop people selling turtle eggs at markets and other places.
“We have prosecuted many cases and many people were imprisoned, but the activities are still going on. We will do our best (against online sellers),” he added.
Turtle conservationist Alexander Yee, who operates a hatchery in Sabah’s Libaran island near Sandakan, said the sellers seemed to have pushed their business up a notch.
He said they spotted a sale on Shopee.
“Last month, we had a case in Shopee and when we brought it up to Shopee’s management, they promptly removed the post and issued an apology,” he said.
Shopee has also put out a reminder over posting the sale of anything illegal to its Malaysian users.
Yee, who is Friends of Sea
Turtles Education and Research (Foster) president, said those selling turtle eggs were using private group chats on social media platforms.
Yee said he had highlighted the issue to the Sabah Wildlife Department, whose manpower is stretched.
He also said he had requested WWF Malaysia’s marine department to set up a unit to work with Sabah Wildlife and act against these groups involved in selling protected turtle eggs on social media and other online platforms.
Meanwhile, at the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court, a woman was jailed four weeks for illegally possessing 27 Green Turtle eggs.
Bahira Juwah, 53, was also fined RM800 by judge Indra Ayub after she pleaded guilty to the offence under Section 40(2)(a) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. She paid the fine.
The offence is punishable under Section 40(3) of the same Enactment that provides for a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment not more than two years, or both, upon conviction.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Sze Chuen, in presenting the facts of the case, said a team of wildlife officers detained Bahira for the offence in Jalan Pryer in front of Block 16, Sandakan town, at 11.30am on Oct 12, 2017.
The eggs were from the endangered Green Turtle species.
The court also ordered the accused to be referred to the Immigration Department for documentation after serving her sentence.
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