State Forestry to review animal handling SOP for future cases

A file photo of the mother and baby macaques that were kept in a cage at Taman Tunku, Miri.

KUCHING, Feb 5: The state Forest Department is looking to improve its service delivery in animal handling following the incident involving two long-tailed macaques in Miri recently.

Officers from the department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) had acted immediately upon receiving report of the macaques kept at an enclosure in a residential area at Taman Tunku.

However the officers could only act on the situation upon receiving verification from the headquarters on whether the animals were kept legally or not.

“The department is always looking to improve its processes and every incident like this will be studied to determine how we can improve our service.

“With regards to the two long-tailed macaques, immediate rescue and investigations were carried out once it was confirmed that no licence had been issued.

“We were guided by the standard operating procedure in handling live animals,” the department said in a statement today.

The state Forestry cautioned that illegally kept animals will be confiscated and investigation papers will be opened.

“If they are being kept legally with license issued by the Controller of Wildlife, the officers will check if the licence’s condition is complied with. Failing which, the owner will be given warning to improve the living conditions of the animals,” it said.

The department added that confiscated animals will be kept and monitored to determine the next course of action.

“For recently captured animals, they may be released back into the wild. However, if they are unfit to be released into the wild, the animals will be transferred to Matang Wildlife Centre for rehabilitation and for safekeeping,” it said.

On a different note, the state Forestry department and other relevant agencies including SFC will continue to monitor and carry out awareness programmes in locations identified as illegal wildlife hotspots such as markets and border entry points.

“We will continue our enforcement efforts, collaborating with other agencies particularly the local councils, police, Customs, Rela, honorary wildlife rangers and airport security, as well as erecting warning signages on the ban of trade of wildlife meat at strategic locations.

“Public input and participation in curbing illegal wildlife trade is also crucial in combating this problem.”

The state Forestry welcomes public cooperation in providing information on any illegal wildlife trade by contacting its nearest regional offices and SFC offices. — DayakDaily