KUCHING: A group of illegal wildlife meat sellers openly challenged a Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) wildlife enforcement team at Bintulu Tamu on Saturday after the officers caught them doing the illegal trade.
SFC in a statement yesterday said one of the vendors threw a bucket at the enforcement team when the latter tried to seize the illegal wildlife meat which included 3.2kg of monitor lizard (biawak), 3.6kg of freshwater soft-shelled turtle (labi-labi) and 7kg of deer (rusa) meat.
“All monitor lizards and freshwater soft-shelled turtles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998.
“Any person who offers for sale or claims to be offering for sale any protected animal or any recognisable part or derivative thereof, except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a license issued under the said Ordinance, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment of one year and a fine of RM10,000,” said an SFC spokesperson.
SFC also pointed out that while the deer is not under the protected list, the commercialisation or the sale of its meat is prohibited and this applied to all other wild animals.
“Farm-bred wild animals can only be sold with a license issued under the Ordinance failing which the penalty would also be imprisonment of one year and a fine of RM10,000.”
SFC acknowledged that wildlife enforcement was a challenging issue that is difficult to be carried out effectively due to large segments of the society viewing the sale or consumption of wildlife meat as “nothing wrong”.
“Therefore, more efforts must also be made on education and awareness programmes in schools, longhouses and villages,” suggested the spokesperson.