Wednesday, January 29

Exotic dishes allowed

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Restaurants need special permit to serve wildlife meat – department

A display of fresh crocodile meat at one of the Foh Sang shops in Luyang, Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: With more visitors in major towns of Sabah searching for exotic local dishes, the question of whether such wildlife meat is officially allowed to be served is often asked.

The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) says the answer is yes, as long as the restaurant concerned has been issued with a special permit to do so.

Said its director, Dr Laurentius Nayan Ambu, “The restaurant owner will have to get the necessary permission or license from us to sell the so-called exotic meat in their restaurants.

“In other words, we allow the sale of wildlife meat in prescribed premises and only when they have special permits to do so.”

There are a few restaurants here in the capital city offering crocodile dishes, including one at Tanjung Aru Plaza and another at Bundusan Square in Penampang.

There is also an outlet at one of the Foh Sang shops in busy Luyang suburb selling fresh crocodile meat each day.

Touching on illegal hunting or poaching of wildlife in the state, he said that there has not been much problem to date, as compared with 10 years ago.

“But there is a rising number of people wanting to go hunting. In our law, we allow people to hunt the game, like the wild boar and three different species of deer – the sambhar deer, muntjak and the mouse deer.

“Other than that it is illegal to hunt them,” he told The Borneo Post.

Dr Laurentius confirmed that his department is studying the implementation of seasonal hunting “in the very, very near future”.

“We in the department recognize that people in Sabah still love to hunt the game animals. So we are considering implementation of seasonal hunting.

“We shall start gaming in certain parts of the year. Yes, we are considering seasonal hunting.”

He disclosed that aside from the wild boar and the three species of deer, the SWD also allows the hunting of the flying fox.

As for crocodiles, he noted that there has been an increase in the population of crocodiles in Sabah.

“We allow trading of crocodiles and crocodile meat through captive breeding. Under international convention, no trading of crocodiles is allowed unless there is a captive breeding programme.”

He said this involves the taking of a certain number of crocodiles as breeders and starting a farm. The owner of the farm could then sell the second generation of crocodiles.