By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, March 28: Sarawak has issued almost 100 permits for crocodile hunting and culling to address human-wildlife conflict but the outcome remains “negligible”.
Deputy Minister for Urban Development and Natural Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh admitted that there is an increasing trend in the crocodile population including in his constituency in Sarikei.
“The problem with crocodiles is that in terms of the local culture of the Malays, Ibans or Dayaks, (killing crocodiles) is considered a taboo.
“That is why Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has now issued almost 100 permits for crocodile hunters to cull the reptile’s population but the number of the crocodiles (culled) under this programme is negligible,” he told reporters during a press conference at his office in Wisma Sumber Alam here today.
Len who is a member of SFC’s board of directors, noted that Sarawak was moved from Schedule One to Schedule Two of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2016.
Following that, SFC introduced a Crocodile Management Plan in 2016 which allows the issuance of permits for hunting and culling crocodiles as well as ventures into the crocodile skin and meat industry.
He added that the Sarawak government is currently planning to organise educational programmes on crocodile sanctuaries in an effort to reduce human-wildlife conflict.
“However, it must be noted that people of Sarawak are still using rivers as a source of income and livelihood. That is why once in a while we will hear about crocodile attacks on the population,” he continued.
Also present were Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) general manager Datu Hashim Bojet and deputy general manager Haluyah Awi. — DayakDaily