Malaysia: Special armed wildlife enforcement team to be set up to counter poachers

KRISTY INUS New Straits Times 24 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Forestry Department wants to set up a dedicated wildlife enforcement team as poachers became more daring in forests and reserve areas.

Its Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Sam Mannan said this specialised squad will be supervised and coached by the existing enforcement team which is currently scattered statewide.

The squad of 50 people is expected to undergo training in Thailand and in the use of firearms, will be stationed at priority areas like the Tabin wildlife reserve, Kinabatangan and Ulu Segama will focus on endangered species like Borneo Pygmy Elephants and Sumatran Rhinos.

The Department hopes to roll this out as soon as it sorts out the estimated yearly funding of RM2 million.

“We have about 100 guns (in our enforcement personnel inventory) … But there were occasions that our staff were unwilling to take the risk to utilise them against poachers.

“So we need to take a stronger approach against poaching activities and recruitment must be done properly.

“We have started training some of our people and we are going to meet the Chief Minister (Tan Sri Musa Aman) soon, if he gives me the power than we can start this,” he said in a press conference after the launch of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) international conference 2017 here.

During the event, the Department also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with non-profit organisation Sabah Environmental Trust represented by chief executive officer and founder Dr Rahimatsah Amat and Yayasan Sabah represented by director Datuk Sapawi Ahmad to jointly establish a dedicated patrolling team within the Danum Valley-Maliau Basin-Imbak Canyon (DaMaI).

The MoU was among eight signed by the Department with various partners during the conference. The agreements inked are related to environmental conservation and forest sustainability.

On whether it was possible to train and use dogs for the wildlife enforcement, Rahimatsah explained that such efforts have been tested in the past but authorities found that more time was spent to care for the canines instead, due to the vast forest grounds to cover. However, he did not discount the possibility of using them in future.

Earlier in his speech, Sam said Sabah spent about RM150 million on forest management annually, where RM100 million went to running the department and RM50 million from both federal and state governments, went to development, reflecting the country’s seriousness in protecting its forests.

Meanwhile, when launching the event, Musa said Sabah has given much emphasis on best practices in agricultural sector.

One such initiative is the Sabah Jurisdictional Certified Sustainable Palm Oil, a 10-year programme launched in late 2015 to have all Crude Palm Oil (CPO) produced from this State to be Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

“It is my hope that by 2025, all oil palm plantations both large and smallholders are fully certified.

“I am grateful for the support of stakeholders such as Forever Sabah (NGO) and the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as technical advisors to guide the CSPO process which is crucial given its complexity and limited timeline,” he added.

Musa said the HoB conference, which includes Indonesia and Brunei as well as Sarawak, allows for a broad partnership programme at local and international levels in the management of natural ecosystems.



Sabah to set up special anti-poaching team
KRISTY INUS Straits Times 28 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: THE Sabah Forestry Department wants to set up a dedicated wildlife enforcement team as poachers have become daring in forests and reserve areas.

Its chief conservator of forests, Datuk Sam Mannan, said this specialised squad would be supervised and coached by the department’s existing enforcement team, whose members were deployed statewide.

The squad of 50 people was expected to undergo training in Thailand. It included the use of firearms, and they would be stationed at priority areas like the Tabin wildlife reserve, Kinabatangan and Ulu Segama.

They would focus on protecting endangered species like Borneo Pygmy Elephants and Sumatran Rhinos. The department hoped to deploy the team as soon as it sorts out the estimated yearly funding of RM2 million.

“We have about 100 firearms (in our enforcement personnel inventory). But there are occasions that our staff is unwilling to use them against poachers.

“So, we need to take a stronger approach against poaching and recruitment of rangers must be done properly.

“We have started training some of our people and we are going to meet the chief minister (Tan Sri Musa Aman) soon to get his approval for deployment,” he said after the launch of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) International Conference 2017 here recently.

During the event, the department also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with non-profit organisation Sabah Environmental Trust (represented by chief executive officer and founder Dr Rahimatsah Amat) and Yayasan Sabah (represented by director Datuk Sapawi Ahmad) to form a dedicated patrol team in the Danum Valley-Maliau Basin-Imbak Canyon (DaMaI) conservation area.

The MoU was among eight signed by the department. The agreements were related to environmental conservation and forest sustainability.

On whether it was possible to train and use dogs in wildlife law enforcement, Rahimatsah said such efforts had been tested in the past, but the authorities found that more time had to be spent to care for the canines because of the vast forest grounds to cover.

But, he did not discount the possibility of using them.

Earlier, Sam said Sabah was spending about RM150 million on forest management annually, where RM100 million was used to run the department, and RM50 million from the federal and state governments went to programme development.

When launching the event, Musa said Sabah had given much emphasis on best practices in the agricultural sector.

One such initiative was the Sabah Jurisdictional Certified Sustainable Palm Oil, a 10-year programme launched in late 2015 to have all Crude Palm Oil (CPO) produced from the state to be Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.

“It is my hope that by 2025, all oil palm plantations, both large and small, are fully certified.

“I am grateful for the support of stakeholders, such as Forever Sabah and the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in providing technical advisers to guide the CSPO process, which is crucial given its complexity and limited timeline.”

Musa said the HoB conference, which includes participants from Indonesia and Brunei, as well as Sarawak, allowed for a broad partnership programme at local and international levels in managing natural ecosystems.

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