Jimmy, children searching for lost mum

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START ‘EM YOUNG: Musa (right) helping a young nature lover watching birds at the park. Squatting is his vice-chairman Dr John Yeo – Photo by Cecilia Sman

WHERE’S MUM?: A photograph taken by Musa showing Ahkaw and Ahmoi frantically searching for their mother at the park.

HAPPY DAYS: Jimmy and Faridah sharing a meal during happy times. — Photo courtesy of Jool Othman

MIRI: Faridah – a mother bird of the totally protected hornbill is still missing, believed to have been hunted by three men at Piasau Garden in full view of horrified onlookers on Tuesday.

Musa Musbah, the honorary wildlife ranger of Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), who was among the onlookers, said that as of yesterday morning Faridah had not been seen anyway in the garden nor in Piasau Camp, their roosting area.

“If Faridah is gone, Jimmy her husband will soon die too because studies show that hornbills are partnered for life. They are true lovers and dedicated parents.

“When Jimmy has gotten tired of looking for Faridah, he will be sad, stop eating and eventually die,” Musa lamented.

He added that after the incident at Piasau Garden on Tuesday and again yesterday, he and several members of the public spotted Jimmy and his off springs – Ahmoi and Ahkaw – in Piasau Garden and also at Piasau Camp, apparently still looking for Faridah.

His wish is that the three men who got hold of Faridah would not harm her and return the bird to them (SFC) so that she could be returned to Piasau Camp to join her family.

Musa, also the chairman of Malaysian Nature Society here and also the pro-tem vice chairman of Piasau Camp Nature Park Society, is among the few people entrusted to do extensive study on the Oriental Pied hornbills and other wildlife in the camp.

He made daily observations of Faridah nesting the last four off springs – Ahkaw and Ahmoi, Nong and Utet – for some six months and has also regularly and dedicatedly monitored the birds before and after the fledging.

Meanwhile deputy-general manager, (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Oswald Braken Tisen, yesterday denied allegations that his men were too slow in taking action on the suspect hunters.

“As soon as Musa informed us we immediately despatched our men to the area to investigate together with the police.

“We too need strong and continued cooperation from the public to report all cases of illegal hunting of these birds,” he said.

Braken urged the public to contact immediately the nearest SFC office in their respective areas should they suspect anyone hunting or selling protected or totally protected species of wildlife in the state. The Miri SFC hotline is 019-8290994.

Meanwhile, the Miri District police chief ACP Mun Kok Keong said investigation was still being carried out and so far no suspected had been picked up.

Hornbills are among the totally protected birds in the state under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998).

Penalties for keeping one as a pet, killing, hunting, capturing, selling, trading or disturbing them, or possessing any recognisable parts of these birds are RM25,000 fine and three years’ jail.