Numerous shops in Sabah were found selling bear products, which show wildlife poaching is rampant in the state, the 5th East and Southeast Asian Wild Animal Rescue Network (WARN) Conference was told.
The event, the first in Sabah, was organised by Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) at Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Tuaran on Nov 26-27 and sponsored by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, EcoOils, Sabah Tourism Board and Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort..
Dr Benoit Goossens, Director of DGFC and co-organiser of the conference, said a discussion on wildlife trade and poaching in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Sabah, was co-chaired by him and Dr Marc Ancrenaz from HUTAN.
“We took the opportunity to present some recent data from surveys carried out by TRAFFIC in Sabah (and other Malaysian states) on pangolin trade and sun bear bile trade,” said Goossens.
“The results were astonishing, out of 21 shops visited in December 2010 in Kota Kinabalu, eight were selling bear bile products. Moreover, in a survey carried out in our State in 2012, 10 out of 24 shops surveyed were selling sun bear products. More astonishingly, a TRAFFIC report published in 2010 on pangolin trade in Sabah, including analysis of trade syndicate’s logbooks seized by SWD in 2009, showed that 22,200 pangolins were traded by the syndicate in 13 months,” added Goossens.
“We also have evidence of illegal hunting in several forest reserves and national parks in Sabah not only at iconic protected areas such as Crocker Range National Park, Tawau Hills National Park, Maliau Basin Conservation Area and Tabin Wildlife Reserve, but also Malua BioBank and Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. This is extremely serious and we – government, NGOs, research institutions – need to tackle this issue as quickly as possible if we don’t want to see our wildlife ending in bowls and/or in medicine products,” said Goossens.
“It is paramount that the millions recently invested in our protected forests are used for wildlife protection and wildlife trade and poaching enforcement. Shall we wait for another iconic species (such as the Sumatran rhino) to disappear in Sabah before reacting?” concluded Goossens.
“WARN is a network of wild animal rescue centers, wildlife law enforcement groups and officials and animal protection groups in East and Southeast Asia,” said Professor Kurtis Pei, Interim Board Chair of WARN and professor at the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan.
“I’m very proud to say that WARN was established as a registered international NGO since August 2013 and that we have members in the following countries: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, and many representatives from wildlife rescue centers in those countries attended WARN 2013 in Sabah,” added Professor Pei. More....