The Wildlife Health Genetic and Forensic Laboratory (WHGFL) in Lok Kawi was only launched on Monday and it is already busy going after poachers.
Director of Sabah Wildlife Department, Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu said the department received on Tuesday pictures from the public showing protected species slaughtered and sold in an open market in Nabawan.
He said that he immediately sent an enforcement team including from the Wildlife Rescue Unit to investigate the market that operates on Wednesdays.
From the pictures sent to the department, he said that the species include binturong, common palm civet, banded palm civet, Malay civet, sambar deer, porcupine and blood python, among others.
"Those species are definitely hunted from forest reserves and national parks, where hunting is totally forbidden," he said in a statement.
To this, he said the department needs support from the public to tackle the menace.
"There is a clear and present danger to our wildlife here in Sabah.
Illegal hunting and poaching is happening at an unprecedented rate now, fuelled not only by local consumption, but also by international illegal trade in wildlife," he said.
The WHGFL was set up by Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) as a focal point to analyse confiscated illegal bushmeat to determine species and origin, using genetic tools.
On the other hand, Assistant Director of the Sabah Wildlife Department, Dr Sen Nathan, said the department is seriously looking at beefing up the department's capacity by setting up a Wildlife Enforcement Unit that is similar to the department's Wildlife Rescue Unit.
Director of DGFC, Dr Benoit Goossens, who is also an advisor to the department and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment on wildlife conservation, said people who hunt, handle, buy and eat bushmeat are not only acting against the law, but also risk their lives by handling or consuming wildlife. More....