By Muguntan Vanar
SANDAKAN: Effective and continuous enforcement is needed to curb illegal poaching of Sabah’s wildlife that are sold in local and international black markets.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi that new guidelines and preventive measures were needed to act against poaching.
He said he will discuss with officers from the Wildlife Department on measures other countries are using to combat the problem.
“What is important is that we step up our efforts with effective and continuous enforcement to curb illegal poaching of wildlife for commercial purposes in the state,” Masidi told reporters after representing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in launching the 50th anniversary of Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre and the opening of the new Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and outdoor orang-utan Nursery at Sepilok here on Thursday.
Masidi said the Government has provided better infrastructures like good roads which are in the interest of the people but this has also made it more easier for poachers to access what was previously remote forest reserves.
“Illegal poaching for commercial purposes is destructive and selfish as their (poachers) actions can lead to the extinction of our wildlife particularly the endangered and protected species in Sabah,” he added.
According to Masidi, the “black area” for illegal poaching in Sabah is the interior where illegal poachers hunt almost any wildlife in the forest reserve for its exotic meat which can also fetch high prices.
“The emphasis is also to educate the people on the threats to our wildlife posed by illegal poaching because the government can gazette more first class forest reserve areas for wildlife conservation and enforcement of laws but the attitude of the people is important to ensure the preservation of our wildlife,” he added.
Masidi said there are about 11,000 wild orang -utans in Sabah and hopes that its population would continue to grow with the state’s effort of gazetting more reserve areas for wildlife conservation coupled with effective enforcement.