Wildlife enforcement set to focus on non-hotspot areas in Sabah

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 21 Nov 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Wildlife enforcers are looking into focusing their anti-poaching efforts on areas outside the usual high-risk spots, says conservationist Dr Benoit Goossens.

He said these spots include Kinabatangan and Tabin in Lahad Datu as well as Kota Belud and Kudat, adding that although there are Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) patrol units at these places, the focus is more on the turtle egg trade.

“There is always a need for more anti-poaching efforts. The issue here is about the lack of manpower and equipment,” said Dr Gossens.

The Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) director hopes that the government would provide more manpower and equipment for this purpose if they are committed to protecting Sabah’s flora and fauna.

He said enforcement is active and ongoing in Sabah, with the various agencies working together for a common goal, adding that this includes Sabah Forestry Department’s Protect teams continuously patrolling the ground for any illegal activities.

“As for the SWD, they are setting up an intelligence unit with the support of DGFC and funding from the government of the United States of America,” he said.

Dr Gossens added that Sabah is getting stronger in terms of enforcement, adding that while poaching might have decreased during the past year due to Covid-19, it is still happening.

Meanwhile, SWD director Augustine Tuuga reminded hunters that hunting licenses for animals permissible under the law have yet to be renewed or resumed.

He warned hunters that their enforcement units were constantly on the lookout for offenders.

He urged local communities to be the eyes and ears of the SWD, so that conservation of forests and wildlife can be done smoothly.

On other matters, Tuuga said the SWD is in the midst of hiring more staff to strengthen their department and operational as well as enforcement activities.

He also said that their recent arrest was on a suspect who had with him four deer believed obtained illegally on Aug 8, in Kalabakan.

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