Monday, May 23

No major violation

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SFC satisfied Jong’s Crocodile Farm making efforts to adhere to Wildlife Protection Ordinance - Photo by File

KUCHING: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is satisfied that Jong’s Crocodile Farm (JCF) is not contravening any major regulations of the Wildlife Protection Ordinance (WLPO) 1998.

This was disclosed by SFC general manager Wilfred Landong at a news conference at the corporation’s headquarters here yesterday.

However, he added that SFC was reviewing the licence of the farm amidst concerns on the living conditions of the animals and reptiles in the farm raised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) Asia as highlighted by The Borneo Post on June 8.

Wilfred assured Peta and other wildlife right groups that SFC was transparent and willing to take their recommendations but cautioned that SFC was the expert in the field and the custodian of the WLPO 1998.

“They (Peta and wildlife groups) can recommend the ideals but in reality, can we implement these ideals? In another words, can we have heaven on earth?” he asked.

After the report was published, SFC senior officers made a surprise visit to JCF on June 10 and recommended steps to be taken by the farm to improve the habitats of the animals there.

Wilfred said the following were findings and actions taken/to be taken arising from the visit:

l For the estimated 200 crocodiles in the 20-acre farm, JCF is in the process of relocating those kept in the holding or display areas to permanent new ponds, which are almost completed. And other than the present habitats, 15 new ponds have been completed. JCF is also in the process of converting an area within the farm to another large pond with a more natural habitat for these reptiles.

 

SFC will take time to review JCF’s licence

• As for the wild boars (hybrid) JCF, has informed that it will cease to keep the wild boar very soon.

• JCF will move the Sambar deers to a new and bigger enclosure.

• One of the macaques appeared sickly and subsequently put to sleep by the veterinary surgeon who visited the farm o June 15.

• There is no sign of stress of the two Sun bears in the farm. In fact they are putting on weight.

• For the turtles, JCF enhance their current pond to allow for a more natural habitat.

• JCF will have to create and move the eagle to a much bigger enclosure, failing which SFC will have to confiscate the bird and release in the wild.

• Veterinary care. An annual inspection by veterinary surgeon for 2011 was conducted on June 15.

Wilfred explained that SFC would take some time to review JCF’s licence which had expired end of last year.

“We will take some time to review the licence to ensure that JCF adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to the issuance of licence from the state’s controller of wildlife,” said Wilfred.

He said JCF was operating on two licences; namely Commercial Wildlife Farm and Wild Animal Farm.

“Under the Commercial Wildlife Farm licence, JCF is given the permit to breed and trade both species of crocodiles (namely the Estuarine and False Gharial species) and under the Wild Animal Farm, JCF is given the permit to keep other animals for public viewing,” he said.

The Hong Kong-based anti-animal cruelty group, Peta visited JFC after it had received numerous reports from visitors to the farm.

Peta’s Cruelty Caseworker and Legal Advisor Agnes Tam had said that after they were tipped by the visitors, if made an official complaint to SFC which subsequently allowed it to visit the farm on October 13 last year.

After Peta visited the farm, it came up with a 28-page inspection report which has been forwarded to SFC for its further action.