Rising crocodile population in Sarawak linked to non-active hunters, cultural taboos

Len Talif (seated centre) photographed with others during a press conference at the DUN Complex on Nov 21, 2023.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 21: The surge in Sarawak’s crocodile population has been attributed to the inactivity of licensed hunters and taboos among local natives’ against killing the reptiles.

Deputy Minister for Urban Planning Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh said Sarawak has issued 173 permits for the purpose of culling crocodiles so far, but they are not very active.

“With the permit, you are allowed to either cull and bury it or you cull and trade it. You are allowed to do it.

“However, the issue is that those who are given the permit to do it, they are not very active in doing it,” he said at a press conference held at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here today.

Len Talif further said another problem was the local culture of the Malays, Ibans and Dayaks who considered killing crocodiles a taboo.

“It puzzles me when it comes to the beliefs of the Malays (on not killing the reptiles).

“On the Ibans’ belief, I understand that they are afraid to kill because it is a taboo,” he added.

Len Talif also said the Ministry of Urban Development & Natural Resources (MUDeNR) are organising benchmarking trips to study from other countries such as Australia and South Africa on their systems to cull the crocodile population.

“I’ve been to Kruger National Park, South Africa twice and I’ve seen what they have done.

“Florida is also well-known for that as well, followed by the Philippines and Thailand,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily