SFC defends stance against trading of wildlife meat

Exotic wildlife meat confiscated by SFC recently. Photo courtesy of SFC

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KUCHING, Nov 23: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) reiterates its stance today that the reason for the State government to prevent the sale of wild boar meat is to ensure that the natives would have sustainable supply of such source of protein.

“This is to ensure that rural communities will continue to have the food that they need. Studies show that wildlife trade in town is the single cause of the decline of wildlife and deprived the rural communities of their source of protein,” SFC said in statement issued here today.

It stated that under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998, the authorities do not permit any sale of wildlife including non-protected species (including wild boar meat) taken from the wild.

“It’s an offence punishable under the ordinances to sell or to buy wild animal meats. And SFC wishes to clarify that everyone is treated the same under the law,” it said.

However, SFC asserted that natives residing in the native areas are permitted to hunt for their own self-consumption but not for sale or trade.

The statement came in respond to DayakDaily’s report yesterday where Masing expressed hope that SFC woud give the Dayaks in Kapit a leeway to sell wild boar meat to supplement their income especially during the current economic downturn caused by Covid-19 pandemic.

He claimed that the explanations presented by Dayak elected representatives during a meeting with SFC officers on the matter at the beginning of the year had fallen on deaf ears.

“The Dayaks of Kapit are crying foul when SFC officers confiscated their wild boar meat for sale including their ‘kasam babi’ (preserved wild boar meat). The old ladies and men whose livelihood depend on these sales came crying, complaining to me,” Masing was quoted saying.

He pointed out that even though wild boars are categorised as endangered species in Sarawak, they are breeding so fast, they have become pests.

“After all, wild boars are pests to rural farmers and they breed prolifically like rabbits. What’s wrong killing those pests to earn extra income for rural people?” asked Masing.

As such Masing called upon SFC to consider the rural people’s effort to earn extra income especially in light of the economic slowdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, SFC disclosed that it has conducted an awareness programme in collaboration with the general operations force (GOF) in Mujong, Kapit recently, to cut off wildlife supply to other parts of Sarawak.

It added that on November 13, 2020, SFC had caught two individuals from Julau and one from Sibu Jaya in possession of 31 kg of deer (Payau) meat, 6.9 kg of internal Payau organ, 4.4 kilograms of meat and parts and 5.5 kilograms of Binturong parts.

Another person was caught in possession of 7 kilograms of porcupine meat. Also caught was a man from Kapit who was in possession of 37kg of wild boar meats and cuts. The suspects were believed to have the intentions to sell the wild meat to other towns in Sarawak.

Under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998, it is an offence to sell or buy any wildlife or wildlife products that have been hunted from the wild anywhere in Sarawak. The penalty for selling wildlife products or wild meat without a license is RM5,000, while the penalty for buying wildlife trophies or wild meat is RM2,000.

For those who wish to apply for permits to hunt, for collection, keeping, trade etc., could download the forms from https://www.sarawakforestry.com/application-form/.

For more queries, SFC licensing unit is reachable at 082-629401. Anyone with information on illegal wildlife trade may contact SFC hotlines at 019-8859996 (Kuching), 019-8883561 (Sibu), 019-8332737 (Bintulu) or 019-8290994 (Miri). — DayakDaily