Tuesday, October 15

Sarawak Forestry intensifies market checks for protected species

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Sarawak Forestry officers check a local market for wildlife trade.

KUCHING: Sarawak Forestry has intensified its checks on markets throughout Sarawak to curb wildlife trade.

Sarawak Forestry chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said such illegal activities tend to increase whenever festive seasons are around the corner.

“Therefore, our staff from regional offices, site offices (OSCC), and Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) teams have intensified patrols at the various markets throughout the state over recent weeks in anticipation of the surge in such activity,” he said in a press release.

An officer attends to confiscated bat and squirrel meat.

Zolkipli thanked various enforcement agencies such as the police, Forest Department, municipal offices, and other related agencies for their assistance, as well as the public for tip-offs.

“New signage will be strategically installed at the markets after the festive season, including dissemination of posters to the local community relating to protection of wildlife,” he added.

Recent patrols have resulted in seizures such as slow loris in Bintulu, sea-turtle eggs in Serikin, as well as bat and squirrel meat in Sri Aman.

Under the Sarawak Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998), any person who hunts, kills, captures, sells, or is in possession of any totally protected animal (and protected animal) shall be guilty of an offence.

Photo shows sea turtle eggs confiscated from a foreign stallholder in Serikin.

The penalty for totally protected animals is up to five years’ jail and a fine up to RM50,000, while for protected animals, the offender is liable to up to two years’ jail and a fine up to RM25,000.

Those with information on wildlife trade can call Sarawak Forestry’s hotlines in Kuching (019-8859996, 016-8565564), Sibu (019-8190140, 019-8894474), Bintulu (019-8223449, 019-8332737), or Miri (019-8224566, 019-8290994).