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Protecting Wildlife in DaMaI by Rangers

The protection of biodiversity in the state, especially those globally threatened species from poaching and wildlife trade, continues to be an important agenda by the state government. Over the years, incidents of wildlife poaching in protected areas (including forest reserves) has been on the rise, with several major reports on the killing of elephants, tembadau and other mammals. The state government through its agencies continue to pursue the agenda with the support of several other organisations in addressing the issue of wildlife poaching.

A tripartite agreement between the state government of Sabah (represented by the Sabah Forestry Department) with Yayasan Sabah (YS) and Sabah Environmental Trust (SET) on the Danum Valley-Maliau Basin-Imbak Canyon (DaMaI): Patrolling (Enforcement and Monitoring) Initiative was signed on 24th October 2017 during the International Heart of Borneo Conference in Kota Kinabalu. Among others, the agreement is to initiate, establish and operationalise jointly a dedicated patrolling team to conduct enforcement and monitoring in DaMaI, to pursue and formalise DaMaI as a single management unit under the Forest Enactment 1968, and to enhance the capacity of the joint dedicated patrol team and other forest rangers in DaMaI. The dedicated patrol team (comprising of selected rangers from SFD and YS) are trained and equipped through the Global Park Defence (GPD) setup utilising covert camera traps that alert the rangers on illegal activities in DaMaI in realtime, and also with the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART).

In June 2018, the dedicated patrol team discovered an actively used camp by poachers at Gunung Rara (at Maliau Basin buffer zone 2, near to Nurod Urod Forest Reserve) with several evidences including fresh supply of food reserve. In July 2018, two arrests were made within the DaMaI area, i.e. at Luasong and buffer zone of Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA). In Luasong (Tiagau Forest Reserve), SFD’s Protect Unit arrested five suspects and confiscated two vehicles with sambar deer and wild boar carcass. As for the second case at another location in buffer zone 2 of MBCA (Gunung Rara), nine suspects including three local communities were arrested and further investigated by SFD. Both cases are being dealt under the Forest Enactment 1968 for entry into forest reserves without proper permit, and for hunting without valid permits and possessions of protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
 
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Freshly new camp found at Gunung Rara area. (Photo by Sabah Environmental Trust)

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Bullet cartridge found during the patrol. (Photo by Sabah Environmental Trust)

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DaMaI Patrol Team discovered an illegal camp and signs of poaching at Maliau Buffer Zone (Extension II) Forest Reserve.
(Photo by: Sabah Environmental Trust).

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Sambar deer carcass confiscated from the suspects at Luasong, Kalabakan (Gunung Rara Forest Reserve).
(Photo by: Sabah Forestry Department)

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Image of poachers captured by real-time camera traps at Maliau Buffer Zone (Extension II) Forest Reserve.
(Source: Sabah Environmental Trust)