SANDAKAN: The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) is investigating claims that turtle eggs were served at a Chinese New Year reunion dinner of the brother of a former state assemblyman, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin yesterday.
Knowing that SWD is faced with the challenge of investigating the claims based only on the photos posted on social media, Jafry said he had instructed SWD to leave no stones unturned in the investigations.
“Firm action needs to be taken on this matter and we (government) want to ensure those involved will be brought forward and receive the appropriate punishment.
“It is our duty and responsibility as all Sabahans to protect and conserve Sabah’s critically endangered wildlife from extinction so our future generation can enjoy their beauty and importance to the ecosystem forever,” he told reporters after handing over food baskets to residents of 15 villages in Sukau affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO) here yesterday.
Jafry also instructed the SWD to look out for the illegal sale of turtle eggs, especially in some areas in Sandakan.
The photos of turtle eggs allegedly being served at the dinner were circulated on social media and criticised by concerned people, especially wildlife conservationists.
The offence of possessing protected wildlife under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 carries a RM50,000 fine or five-year imprisonment or both if convicted.
On the mysterious deaths of some 30 Bornean bearded pigs in several areas in Sabah’s east coast recently, Jafry said that the State Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) was still investigating the cause of deaths.
DVS learned of the case on Jan 28 during an online meeting with SWD and immediately organised a team with the Danau Girang Field Centre to investigate. — Bernama