By: Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 22: The Samarahan Crocodile Hunters team formed recently has been issued permit and license by the Controller of Wild Life to hunt and cull crocodiles when the reptiles become threats to human lives and property.
Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) in confirming this in a media release today to clear public confusion, pointed out that the crocodile-hunting team was to carry out its activities in compliance with regulations under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance (WLPO) 1998.
“In respect to the regulations under Section 41, 42, 42A of WLPO 1998, hunting and culling of crocodiles are allowed when they are believed to be dangerous to the public.
“It was a good effort by the communities but it must be done properly and legally managed through legislation and management plan.
“This is to ensure that it would not cause extinction of crocodiles, reduce human-crocodile conflicts and help to increase the livelihood of local communities residing along the river banks,” SFC advised.
SFC highlighted that they had since 2016 introduced the Crocodile Management Plan as a guideline in dealing with crocodiles as a whole to ensure that crocodile culling was done in a sustainable manner which included technical assistance and issuance of permit by the Controller.
“Awareness campaigns related to crocodile management in a systematic manner were done throughout the state especially in areas with crocodile presence. Briefings were also given to heads of communities.
“Involvement and commitment from elected representatives were sought through 3M (Mengenali, Memahami dan Memulihara) Buaya programme to gather feedback and input from communities for SFC to fine-tune our State Crocodile Management Plan especially on the issuance of licenses to the public for crocodile culling.”
SFC also urged the public to be vigilant when using the river system in view of the monsoon season as well as the start of the crocodile’s breeding season.
According to a local English daily, the crocodile-hunting team was formed on Dec 19 to put an end to crocodile attacks on humans in Samarahan.
The team’s patron who is also Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang explained that the team of 13 members with four of them licensed to carry firearms and catch or cull crocodiles.
They will be assisted by the Muara Tuang First Response team from their local service centre which has the logistical and managerial capabilities.
The team, Idris added will be equipped with special tools and equipment as well as two boats to assist the authorities when there was a need to go hunting in the river.
SFC urged members of the public to notify the nearest SFC offices of any crocodile sightings in their areas – 019-8859996 (Kuching), 019-8883561 (Sibu), 019-8332737 (Bintulu), or 019-8290994 (Miri).