KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department is adamant in its bid to set up its own enforcement unit to curb illegal poaching in the state.
To be dubbed the Wildlife Enforcement Unit, its personnel will be heavily armed and would be mobile to enforce the law when inspecting forest reserves (FRs) and other protected areas in Sabah.
“We believe that the improved road networks have further increased illegal hunting activities at all forest reserves and protected areas in Sabah, which makes our wildlife, including the protected species, to be at risk of extinction.
“As such, there is a need to overcome this issue fast,” said the Sabah Wildlife Department Enforcement and Prosecution Division chief, Abdul Karim Dakog, yesterday.
He stressed that most of the existing hunters are not subsistence hunters but rather professionals and doing it for commercial purposes.
“Apart from the bakakuk (homemade gun), they are equipped with high-powered guns. Most come from urban areas or other districts, travelling with fully modified four-wheel-drive vehicles,” he said.
Abdul Karim added that the three Sabah Wildlife Departments would be organising a meeting on March 10 with Sabah Forestry Department and relevant authorities to discuss the setting up a joint task force to tackle illegal wildlife hunting and trade.
“By protecting our wildlife, it will also be good for our tourism since the industry is a major contributor to Sabah’s economy. In addition, it is important to increase awareness among the public about the conservation of our wildlife in Sabah,” he said.