Viral claims on protected plant species untrue says Sabah Wildlife Dept

KOTA KINABALU: Viral claims about the various species of alocasia plants being protected are not true, says Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) director Augustine Tuuga.

He said SWD was aware of the claims being circulated over WhatsApp.

“We would like to clarify that the plant species referred to are not protected, so we urged public members not to believe this and disregard such messages if they received it,” said SWD director Augustine Tuuga.

Previously, a posting accompanying pictures of some plant leaves warned alocasia enthusiasts to hide their plants to avoid being summoned by authorities as they were protected.

Alocasia is a group of broad-leaved perennial flowering plants that are found widely cultivated by flower and plant enthusiasts.

It is not protected under Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, thus it is not an offence to sell or possess the plant in Sabah.

However, the public are advised not to collect such plants that grow in forest reserves and protected areas, unless they have permission from the department or agency entrusted to care for the place, he said.

He urged the public to visit the department’s Facebook and Instagram platforms to learn more information on protected wildlife and species in Sabah.

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