Malaysia: Man arrested over mutilation of green sea turtles in Sabah

OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 2 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: A man from Semporna was arrested today over suspected turtle-poaching activities.

The arrest came about following the discovery of numerous mutilated green sea turtle carcasses in Pulau Bum Bum, off Semporna last week.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said the 60-year-old man from Kampung Pantau-Pantau in Bum-Bum island will be remanded until Friday.

"The department is continuing its search for other suspects in days to come.

"The search will cover several islands in Semporna waters," he said, adding the arrest was made based on information from the public as well as the village head.

Last week, the department's investigators went to Pulau Bum-Bum following reports on social media of the carcasses.

On Saturday, turtles carcasses were also found floating in the waters near Pulau Mabul in Semporna.

Green sea turtles are classified as endangered and are a protected species.

Meanwhile, on the killing of a male Bornean pygmy elephant in Kinabatangan last week, Augustine said investigations are still ongoing.

He said investigations suggest that the elephant was not native to the area in Kinabatangan. Inspections along Sungai Kayoh, where the carcass was found, revealed no elephant footprints.

"It means that the elephant did not come from the area.

"We have identified several suspects in the case," he said.

The carcass of the Bornean pygmy elephant, aged between 15 and 20, was spotted by a group of tourists on a river cruise near Sungai Koyah in Kinabatangan.

Poachers had removed the endangered mammal’s tusks and cut off its left leg at the thigh.

Man remanded for five days over deaths of eight sea turtles
muguntan vanar The Star 2 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: A 60-year-old man was arrested over the deaths of about eight sea turtles at Pulau Bum Bum last week where investigators had also found 100 skeletal remains of the sea creature.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said Monday that the suspect from Kg Pantau-Pantau in Semporna’s Pulau Bum Bum was remanded by the magistrate's court for five days for questioning.

He said they have identified several suspects and are searching for them at several islands in this east coast district of Sabah.

The arrests are the first break for the Wildlife Department in their probe into the turtle killings that have stirred an outcry among local and international conservationists.

Tuuga did not disclose if the suspect and those wanted were also linked to the discovery of another seven burned sea turtle skeletons found at the tourists resort island of Pulau Mabul.

On the deaths of two Bornean pygmy bull elephants whose tusks were removed, he said they identified several suspects following information gathered from the public.

He said that investigations were ongoing into the killing of a male elephant in Kinabatangan last month.

“The search for the crime scene was done by boat along the river and on land by vehicle," said Tuuga.

He added that an inspection along the Koyah river near the site where the elephant carcass was found floating did not detect any sign of elephant footprints.

He said that this meant that the elephant was not from the area.

In the Tawau case where a bull elephant was found dead, Tuuga said that they were waiting for the blood sample analysis.

More agencies to protect Sabah wildlife
stephanie lee The Star 3 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will rope in more enforcement agencies to boost protection for wildlife on land and sea as a probe gets underway on the deaths of two elephants and over dozens of green turtles in Semporna.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the Wildlife Department could not on its own protect the wildlife in the state.

Enforcement teams from the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Parks have been called in to help.

“One of the reasons why these killings still happen is a shortage of manpower to enforce the laws.

“By getting the other agencies to work together, we hope to fill the gap,” Masidi said after the opening ceremony of the state-level Warriors’ Day comme­moration at the Likas Sports Complex near here yesterday.

Last month, two bull pygmy elephants were killed in Kalabakan and Kinabatangan, as were dozens of endangered green turtles in Pulau Bum-Bum in Pulau Mabul, Semporna, in a week.

Masidi said the Wildlife Department was still trying to find answers to the turtle killings.

He urged the public to work together with enforcers to check wildlife hunting.

“We need help from everyone to report any incident to us as soon as they know about it before the relevant evidence is lost,” he said.

Masidi said the authorities would consider giving incentives to individuals who could provide information with evidence on killings of endangered species.

People who often post on social media about wildlife killings and hunting could also be appointed as honorary wildlife wardens, he said.

“This could encourage them to be our eyes and ears in our fight for wildlife protection.”

Two more detained over turtle deaths in Sabah's east coast
ruben sario The Star 3 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Another two people have been detained in connection with the slaughter of scores of turtles in Sabah’s east coast.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said a man in his 40s was arrested at Pulau Dinawan near Semporna on Tuesday.

He said Wildlife enforcement officers also held a woman in her 30s at Pulau Bum Bum on the same day.

“We are recording their statements to allow investigations,” Augustine said.

“More arrests are expected to be made in the coming days,” he said, adding that the department faced difficulties in ascertaining the whereabouts of key suspects.

Augustine said it was getting the help of the marine police, Sabah Parks and WWF Malaysia in locating the suspects.

On Monday, the department arrested a 60-year-old man over the poaching of eight sea turtles at Pulau Bum Bum last week.

Investigators had also found 100 skeletal remains of the sea creature.

The man had been remanded for five days for questioning.

On the killing of an elephant in Kinabatangan district, Augustine said Wildlife personnel raided the house of a suspect on Tuesday.

A search of the house resulted in the body parts of other protected species including sambar deer and bearded pig being seized.

He said two Indonesians had been arrested in connection with the discovery of the animal parts.

The investigation into the killing of a male elephant found floating in Kinabatangan will now move to the upstream of the river.

A house of a suspect that was initially suspected to have connections to the case was searched.

However the search only found parts of other protected species.

The carcass of the bull elephant was found floating in the Kinabatangan river with its tusks removed.

Sabah Wildlife Department looking for at least 3 suspects in turtle poaching case
OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 3 Oct 17;

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Wildlife Department officers are hunting for at least three people in connection with recent turtle poaching activities in Semporna.

This follows the arrests of a 60-year-old man in Kampung Pantau Pantau, off Semporna, yesterday and two people today.

“A Bajau Laut man in his 40s was detained in Dinawan island in the morning while a Bajau Laut woman in her 30s was detained in Kampung Amboh-Amboh, Bum-Bum island, in the afternoon.

“Their statements will be recorded to facilitate investigations,” said state department director Augustine Tuuga.

The arrests came about following the discovery of numerous mutilated green sea turtle carcasses in Bum Bum, located off Semporna, last week.

Augustine said initial investigations indicated another three people were involved in the poaching but did not exclude the possibility that there could be more.

The department is being assisted by Marine police, Sabah Parks officers and World Wildlife Fund members in the search for other suspects at several islands in Semporna waters.

Meanwhile, two Indonesian men were detained for possessing parts of protected sambar deer and bearded pig at their house in Kinabatangan.

Their house was searched this morning as the department suspected the owners were connected to the killing of a male elephant found floating in Sungai Kayoh last week.

“However, the search only found parts of other protected species,” said Augustine.