Malaysia: Sabah’s endangered species much sought after

Stephanie Lee The Star 28 Nov 13;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s exotic wildlife species are treasures sought by international collectors and smugglers, going by the millions of ringgit of seizures over the years.

These animals, many being endangered and protected species, are also being smuggled for their meat, among other purposes.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, however, said the Government was doing its best to prevent smuggling and illegal hunting of endangered species in the state.

“Our efforts have led to the capture of poachers and smugglers over the years, as well as seizure of protected animals and meat, including pangolin meat, worth millions of ringgit,” he said when launching the Wild Animal Rescue Network (WARN) conference here.

“This is an indication we are being targeted for our animals,” he added.

Masidi said there were many private collectors and exotic food lovers who would pay hefty sums of money to get their hands on these animals, be it for their meat or for other uses.

“Looking at our biodiversity, I’m sure that Sabah is a fertile ground for the smugglers,” he added.

Masidi said that WARN, a non-governmental organisation that aims to reduce and prevent the smuggling of endangered and protected animals, had commended Sabah for its animal protection and smuggling prevention efforts.

“In fact, Sabah is said to be among the best in Asia in this field ” he added.