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A 'turning point' for wildlife
Published on: Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kota Kinabalu: The capture of an illegal poacher in Deramakot Forest Reserve has been hailed as possibly a "turning point" to stamp out the rampant slaughter of wildlife in Sabah's prime protected forests."We congratulate the State Forestry Department and its Director Datuk Sam Mannan for their determination not to rest until a direct capture has taken place," said Alex Yee, President of the Kinabatangan Corridor of Life Tourism Operators Association (KiTA).

"For too long, evidence of gruesome killings of even Totally Protected species, in addition of credible evidence of illegal hunters setting barbeque fires that burnt down nearly 1,000 acres of forest in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary last month, but whoever did these were not known," Yee noted.

But on Thursday, Mannan announced an elite Special Force from Lahad Datu finally caught up with one of six suspects camping inside Deramakot Forest Reserve with their loot of hornbill carcass, gaharu, shotguns, bullets, axes, etc.

The tattooed suspect turned out to be an undocumented Dayak Kenyah from Southern Kalimantan calling himself Nopel bin Ulang who revealed that he was working for one shadowy financier "Moksin" based in Tawau, the authenticity of his identity is also 'suspect', said Mannan, who assured that the suspect will be charged soon under the Forest Enactment 1968 and the Wildlife Conservation Act 1997, and plead for maximum sentences from the court should he be found guilty.

Nopel's revelation suggests that he probably forms the poor bottom rung ground troop poacher working for a bigger pyramid scheme in the poaching industry that possibly involves offshore profiteers and a contract local middleman dealer whose money constitutes an enabling component to repeat the spate of serious wildlife scam over the recent past.

Mannan's misgiving that the name Moksin is likely a fictitious one is probably right since neither the dealers nor top rung profiteers do any poaching but fix everything in a top secret manner to maintain anonymity.

To complement the Forestry Department's Special Force to combat the rising tide of rampant illegal slaughter of wildlife, Yee suggested that the Sabah Wildlife Department create a potent force of its own by tapping into the potentials of the 10,000 Honorary Wildlife Wardens throughout the State and turn them into an Informant Network that may prove a very useful ear and eye force to counter poaching,

"In fact, just three weeks ago, KiTA and the Sabah Wildlife Department started a pilot project which rallied the 25 Honorary Wildlife Wardens who work for various resorts in Kinabatangan."

"What we have done is organise them into Groups of Five to keep watch over four kampungs (villages) from Abai to Sukau, Bilit up Kg Sungai Lokan upstream and all of them report to one Command Centre which in this case is the SWD Kinabatangan District Headquarter Office under Officer-in-charge Jimly," Yee noted.

Yee said he had discussed this co-share monitoring activity with Jimly over a period of seven months and last month, Jimly decided to launch the pilot project, with the blessing of Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) Director William Bayah.

"In one fell shot, we are able to keep in touch with 25 of our workers who are already deployed very close to the ground because they are all full time workers of the various resorts," Yee noted.

"But I suggest that the SWD create an incentive scheme to pay a monthly Group Allowance based on a specified number of hours clocked on the rounds and top it up with special incentives if a report of illegal poaching from any group leads to conviction," Yee said. "In any case, in order to renew their title, they need to show proof of groundwork," he added.

"But an incentive scheme will encourage as much vanguard activities as possible and areas deemed critical to wildlife but without Honorary Wildlife Wardens, train more if there are few or none, given the seriousness of illegal wildlife poaching in the State, " Yee suggested.



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