Foreign Poachers Ravaging Sabah's Wildlife

user commentForeign Poachers Ravaging Sabah's Wildlife

1. Recently, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah, YB Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Masidi Manjun, reported on the seriousness of poaching in Sabah.

2. The Forestry Department supports this statement by the Minister, and the situation is fast deteriorating.

3. Because of the richness of our forests, particularly its wildlife, this has also attracted foreign poachers to join the bandwagon, although this is nothing new.

4. What is new is the boldness of foreign poachers, who manage to come in with weapons, particularly, home made shotguns, spears, trapping devices, swords, and with the audacity and arrogance to confront enforcement officers, and at the same time, destroy public properties to assist in their poaching. (eg. cutting government water tanks as floaters for wildlife parts down river for collection)

5. In the last (1) month, a band of (6) foreign poachers, believed to be Kenyahs / Dayaks from Kalimantan, were encountered twice in Pinangah-Tangkulap Deramakot, with their hoard of slaughtered wildlife - bears, hornbills and a cache of Gaharu wood. When encountered, they reacted aggressively and brandished their weapons and showed off their tattooed bodies, addressing aggressively that they were in the forests, to take whatever was available.

6. Due to the small numbers of enforcement offers on patrol at that time, it was decided that confrontation was unwise and reinforcement was needed due to the precarious situation. Unfortunately, the band of poachers escaped, but blatantly to other parts of the forest to continue poaching.

7. Due to the aggressive nature of the foreigners, the department decided to deploy its “Protect Team” (Special Forces) from Lahad Datu, headed by Senior Forestry Officer, Eddie Bungkoris, to seek, apprehend and arrest the bandits, assisted by the District Forestry Officer of Deramakot, with the K-9 Dog Unit of the department.

8. The Special Forces, due to their training and motivation, finally caught up with one of 6 suspects, on 08.08.2016, camping inside Deramakot Forest Reserve with their loot of : Hornbill carcass, Gaharu etc. and weapons (shotguns, bullets, axes etc.)

9. The suspect is a Dayak Kenyah from Southern Borneo, undocumented, calling himself, Nopel Bin Ulang. The suspect revealed that they were part of a team, working for one, “moksin”, based in Tawau, probably a local, or God knows what.

10. Should any member of the public know this, “moksin”, albeit it being possibly a fictitious name, please report immediately to the nearest Forestry Offices.

11. The Forestry Department believes, the recent spate of serious poaching in the Kinabatangan Kretam - Kulamba area, with Sunbear deaths etc, may be associated to this seasoned and professional poachers from outside Sabah, who come in bands.

12. The Forestry Department is now discussing with WWF to reinforce its training in anti-poaching for greater capacity to set up more “Protect Teams”, which will entail additional recruitment and resources.

13. Apart from 2 sniffer dogs, a German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois, procured in 2015 for Gaharu detection, the department has this year, acquired (2) more Malinois dogs, this time trained for protection, search and to apprehend.

14. The department has so far spent not less than RM600,000 on the K-9 unit, under State Government funds, covering the procurement of 4 dogs, staff training for 4 specialised dog handlers and buildings. This will increase in time.

15. The Forestry Department expresses its fear on the availability of guns, bullets, other weapons etc by foreign poachers, although this is not a first occurrence.

16. In July, a PATI from the Philippines, was arrested for commiting a forest offence in Tabin, and also happened to be in the possession of a home made gun. This case is being investigated by the Police.

17. Foreigners with illegal arms deserve the maximum sentences if found guilty as they may and can cause harm to enforcement officers and the general public, have nothing to lose.

18. The department believes these foreigners can have easy access to forests and wildlife in Sabah because of long term in depth knowledge of our environment and more than likely, the collaboration of local traitors.

19. The suspect shall be charged soon under the Forest Enactment 1968 and the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and we shall plead for maximum sentences from the court should he be found guilty.

20. At the same time, due to the potential bonanza of knowledge intelligence and information, the suspect may possess on the poaching network in Sabah, the department may have to seek specialist help from the police in the investigation.

21. The department shall endeavour to upgrade its capacity to control poaching and increase its resources, including obtaining more guns.

22. Members of the public are urged to assist the department and other enforcement officers in providing information should they encounter suspicious characters, inside or nearby forests.

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