Malaysia: Clampdown on poachers in Sabah forests

The Star 7 Jun 16;

KOTA KINABALU: Forestry and Wildlife officials are on the hunt for poachers in forest reserves along Sabah’s east coast, where there has been a recent spike in encroachments.

Sabah Forestry director Datuk Sam Mannan said illegal hunters were making a beeline for forest reserves where wildlife such as wild boar, payau and deer thrive.

“Poachers have plundered the forests in the interiors of Sabah,” he told The Star yesterday.

Mannan said rangers were also carrying out regular operations to detect illegal harvesting of the valuable gaharu and agarwood trees in the forest reserves.

The department, he said, went on a joint operation with the police and Sabah Wildlife personnel to the Sun­gai Pinangah forest reserve in the Kinabatangan district last week.

He said two foreigners were detained in the operation.

Mannan said enforcement staff spotted the two men standing by the road and found several bakakuk (homemade shotguns) on them.

“They have been turned over to the police,” he added.

Sabah Wildlife enforcement chief Augustine Tuuga said they were going after poachers to curb the illegal trade of bushmeat in the state.

He said they arrested several poachers found to have wild boar, barking deer, pangolin and civet cat carcasses.

He added that going after people selling game at the tamu (farmers markets) in interior districts such as Nabawan could be “dangerous” for their enforcement staff.

State Tourism, Culture and En­­viron­ment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun had said that department personnel have been threatened when carrying out checks at the Nabawan tamu.

It was also reported last Novem­ber that a conservationist was similarly threatened when he tried to take photos of bushmeat on sale at the market.

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