Monday, February 24

Forest Dept to increase fight against poachers

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KUCHING: The Forest Department will take serious measures to prevent a repeat of the poaching incident at Piasau Camp in Miri last month.

Acting forest director Sapuan Ahmad said the department would go all out to increase awareness among the relevant authorities and public on the seriousness of the crime.

An Oriental Pied Hornbill, a protected species, was found dead in a rubbish dump at the Piasau Industrial Estate.

Nicknamed Faridah by nature lovers, the bird was among the few hornbills that call Piasau Camp home.

The poaching incident was well documented in the media and online, sparking outrage.

“Although the suspects have been reprimanded, there is no guarantee that such an incident would not happen again hence the need to step up the measures in educating the public regarding our wildlife laws,” Sapuan told reporters during the launch of the Cites Inter-Government Agencies Consultation and Capacity Building Seminar yesterday.

Sapuan said the poaching and killing of protected wildlife need not only be committed by adults for profit but also youths.

“There could be youngsters wandering in the forest, playing with slingshots and killing small animals just for the fun of it too. They might not even be aware such an act is against the law,” he said.

Apart from increasing awareness, Sapuan added that it is also vital to have cooperation among various government agencies to monitor and conserve wildlife.

“Three male suspects were arrested regarding the poaching incident at Piasau Camp in a joint enforcement operation between the forestry agencies and Miri police. This is a fine example of intergovernmental agency cooperation,” he said.

The seminar organised by the Forest Department aimed to brief various government agencies regarding the conservation, protection and trade of wildlife.