KOTA KINABALU: Hunters involved in the illegal trade of bushmeat in Sabah had better be wary because the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has vowed to catch them.
SWD enforcement chief, Augustine Tuuga, stressed that they were going after the hunters and that the allegation made by the Wildlife Watchers Sabah that SWD was not doing anything to curb the illegal bushmeat trade in Nabawan was untrue.
He said, they have arrested two groups of hunters just last week as part of the effort.
However, he declined to provide details of the arrests and stated merely that the hunters were found in possession of wild boar, barking deer, pangolin and civet cats.
“We are going after the suppliers of bushmeat and we think this is the best approach in dealing with this problem,” he said.
He also said that they were of the view that going after people selling wildlife meat at the ‘tamu’ (farmers’ market) in interior districts such as Nabawan can lead to dangerous situations for their enforcement staff.
“The worry is that the situation can suddenly turn awry when our staff seize the bushmeat. Not only are the vendors present at the markets but also hundreds of people,” he explained.
Tourism, Culture and Environment minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, had said that the department’s personnel had been threatened when carrying out checks at the Nabawan tamu.
It was also reported last November that a conservationist was threatened when he tried taking photos of bushmeat on sale at the market.
On Tuesday, the media here received an anonymous email questioning why the department had not taken action against the rampant sale of bushmeat in Nabawan. A group calling itself Wildlife Watchers of Sabah had also sent photos of the bushmeat sales in Nabawan taking place as early as April 30.