KINARUT –Illegal hunting and trading as well as possession of wildlife meat and its parts continue despite enforcement and programmes to combat such unscrupulous acts.
Enforcement and programmes to combat illegal hunting have been vigorously conducted by the state government under the Sabah Wildlife Department and other NGOs; the war for wildlife conservation is being fought hard.
Despite all that; the illegal hunting, trading and possession of wildlife meat and its parts continues. Some believes that this occur because of the tradition of the indigenous community who had been hunting for wildlife for centuries.
A big portion of these also stem from the public demand on the wildlife meat and parts as can be seen in the traditional market Tamu, especially those located in interior area.
Exotic meat and if you are ‘lucky’ maybe some horns or other of these protected animal species parts; which show wildlife poaching is rampant in the state.
“If there is no demand there is no supply. The stakes and risks are high. This is extremely serious and we need to take action to resolve this problem,” the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said during the World Wildlife Day celebration at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, here today.
He stated that education is the key to ‘resolve’ the issues.
“No amount of enforcement can solve this matter unless the public give conviction to protect the wildlife; and that can be done with education on conservation.”
“I believe that the future of conservation lays in the young generation. I think they should be our crusaders and spokespersons to ensure the survival of these endangered species,” he said.
Masidi urged youth to play a role by spearheading awareness on the wildlife issue and help mobilise support of wildlife conservation.
According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia there has been a 52 per cent decline in global wildlife populations over the past 40 years. It stated that Sabah is a hot target of poachers due to its abundant but declining mammal, bird, reptile and insect species.
For example wildlife such the rhino are high in demand for its horn stems from the common yet misguided belief that it harbours medicinal properties.
The WWF disclosed that in Malaysia, a disturbing combination of factors has led to its dwindling population and near-extinction: the lack of knowledge on rhino population and reproduction status in the wild, poor husbandry practices in captive centres, the conservation focus being solely on protecting rhinos in the wild which has not been effective, and at the same time not developing an effective captive breeding population as a parallel effort.
Some wildlife researchers estimate that there are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the world and current populations are largely confined to Indonesia, with very few wild rhinos possibly remaining in Sabah.
Over the last 30 years, more Sumatran rhinos have died than have been born, both in the wild and in captivity.
Last year, one of only 10 Sumatran rhinoceros in captivity worldwide, Gelugob, died at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.
She was rescued from Kinabatangan in 1994. In 2013, she was brought to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park from Tabin Wildlife Reserve as an ambassador for Sumatran rhino conservation efforts. She was estimated to be around 37-years of age and died of old age.
Meanwhile, seven schools from around Kota Kinabalu received an allocation of RM5000 each schools for the effort to encourage Sabah’s youth to play an active role in wildlife conservation activities.
This was announced by Masidi after the launching of the SWD’s Facebook pace, 5R Hidupan Liar, which is dedicated to promote the 5R – Reduce, Reject, Rethink, Remind and Report concept among schools in Sabah. – By Fizah Yusof/SayangSabah