Poaching In Sabah Has Reached Pandemic Propotion

user commentPoaching In Sabah Has Reached Pandemic Propotion

It is highly disturbing to report that poaching of wildlife in Sabah has reached pandemic proportion, evident from the cases encountered, in particular, within Ulu Segama-Malua Forest Reserves and even within Danum Valley itself, the buffers of Maliau Basin and protected areas that shelter the remaining pristine forests and wildlife of Sabah.

Poaching is now not a matter of self-indulgence for own consumption but for trade and a lucrative export.

The poachers, often masked, encountered at the Forest Check Points, are invariably violent in their behavior, probably intoxicated with drugs etc., armed with most likely, illegal and unregistered guns, and willing and able, to inflict harm on the Forest Guards at site.

For the record, in 2009, the Ulu Segama-Malua Forestry Base Camp, was raided and the DFO hurt unconscious, by a gang of hooligans, from a particular village in Lahad Datu, miles away from the forest reserves, but a number of whom, consider the forest reserves as their fiefdom for exterminating wildlife for sales. The Forestry Department Checking Station at Ulu Segama was also recently pelted with shotgun bullets.

Although Forestry Department staff are armed, this is purely for self-protection and they are reluctant to use their licenced firearms against the poachers.  Besides that, it is to avoid a firefight with the poachers which may result in an ugly scene.

The Forestry Department is able to stop illegal entries only when the Police provides escorts and are present but it is unreasonable to expect the Police to provide assistance at all times and at all hours and at all places.

The suspects, believed to be the main perpetrators of big scale poaching, are known and information has been given to the authorities concerned for further action.

The “modus operandi” of the poachers, include the misuse of military uniforms, probably to intimidate Forestry Department and Wildlife Department staff, and in the process, damage the good name of the security forces.  Evidence to this effect for action on this masquerade have also been conveyed to the authorities concerned.

Until and unless this band of hooligans, largely based in Lahad Datu in particular, are arrested, charged in court, and sentenced severely, the killing field of iconic wildlife ( random shooting of elephants near roads, planned execution of Tembadaus, massacre of deer etc. ) will continue, expand and in the end leave us with a Dead Green Desert – lots of trees but no animals within.  They may also eventually scare off tourists from coming to Danum Valley.

The seriousness of this menace needs a concerted effort in unison, starting with the prosecution of the known and big time perpetrators.

At the same time, the laws on entry into forest reserves need tightening because Sabah is the only State in the whole country that has lax laws, downright appeasing, on forest reserve entry – consciously Laisse Faize!!  A proposal to amend the laws has been forwarded to the State Attorney – General’s office for urgent action.

The role of foreign poachers, to steal Gaharu (incensed wood ), is also a menace and opportunistic i.e. kills of wildlife, have also been detected deep inside Danum Valley.

The Forestry Department has also been informed that, the extermination of Rhinos in Ulu Segama-Malua-Danum, was probably due to poaching more than anything else, evident from a particular village in Borneo, who have been making annual raids to hunt for Rhinos in Sabah, over the last (50) years.  This culture of coming to Sabah, is then passed down the generations as a tradition, resulting in virtual extinction of Sabah’s Rhinos

Public co-operation, especially in providing information, photo evidences and other useful materials, would help in the monitoring and enforcement in vulnerable areas.

As of now, the killing continues.


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