Rare animals seized in crackdown on illegal wildlife trade, abuses

Wildlife meat left behind by traders during the raid.

KUCHING, Mar 1: Sarawak Forestry Corporation personnel fanned out across the state today in a coordinated move to curb illegal trade and abuses of wildlife and ended up with many species of rare animals.

With the help of the Forest Department, local councils and the police, the raiding teams seized live animals such as Barred Eyed Owl, Buffy Fish Owl, Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot, Spotted Dove and other birds, as well as terrapins such as Borneon Terrapin, tortoises, pythons including slaughtered pythons and slaughtered wild boar parts from the wildlife traders and keepers.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the raids were carried out in markets in Miri, Kuala Baram, Kuching, Kota Samarahan, Matang, Serian, Bau, Sibu, Julau, Selangau, Bintulu and Kidurong.

The enforcement teams pounced after gathering sufficient information.

Some of the Owl species rescued during the raids.

“Our SFC teams sought the help of the police, local councils and Forest Department to help in the numerous raids on wet markets in commercial and residential areas,” he said in a statement.

A police report has been lodged in one of the raids against those caught possessing the wildlife. However, many wildlife traders managed to flee before the enforcement teams arrived, with some of them leaving the wildlife in their possession behind.

“SFC will be relentless in our statewide crackdown against wildlife abuses and exploitations. We mean business,” he assured.

Zolkipli said aside from enforcement raids, SFC would also put up posters in wet markets to warn the public against selling wildlife.

“Education and awareness campaigns are important too aside from enforcement. Our long-term goal is to stop the abuse, trading and eating of wildlife in Sarawak. Its a definite `no’ to any form of exploitation of protected and totally-protected species,” he shared.

Meanwhile, Zolkipli also announced the setting up of SFC’s hotlines to tackle wildlife abuses in the state.

The SFC hotlines in Kuching are 019-8859996, 016-8565564, in Sibu (019-8190140, 019-8894474), in Bintulu (019-8223449), and in Miri (019-8224566, 019-8290994). — DayakDaily