One of his students working on wild boar landscape ecology in Kinabatangan stormed back shell-shocked on March 2 upon running into a female bearded pig with its jaws blown up by bombs!
"The animal had clearly been killed by an explosive device called 'boom babi' known to be commonly used by poachers," Goossens said.
It is one more evidence of hunters exploiting a protected area illegally for their own gains, he said, adding the animal was found lying dead in the forest corridor of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, less than 100 metres from an oil palm plantation and only 700 metres from the Centre.
"The culprit planted the belacan containing explosive in the soil in order to attract and kill a feeding bearded wild pig," he said. "The practice is not only a vicious way of killing an animal but also a severe hazard to any person or animal that may have stood on the concealed device and by being used, it poses a continued threat to the local people of the Kinabatangan," said Jimli Perijin, Senior Officer of the Sabah Wildlife Department for Kinabatangan.
"But it is definitely an illegal act since these animals are protected in the sanctuary under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997," Jimli stressed.
"Our initial investigation suggests that immigrant plantation workers from a neighbouring country in the east coast practise wildlife bombing although we do not disregard the fact that some locals might have learnt this terrible technique," Goossens said.
Besides working with the police to curb this dangerous poaching activity of the worst kind, Goossens said he had also dispatched his rangers to investigate.
Meanwhile, Sabah Wildlife Department Director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu warned that a sharp decline in the numbers of the bearded wild boar with a huge shrinkage in distribution has already occurred across Borneo, threatened by a combination of habitat loss and over-hunting.
"As the populations continue to decrease, the impact of hunting becomes a very severe threat to the survival of this species," noted Laurentius, who promised a meeting of "custodians" from his department, the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Parks and Sabah Foundation to work out measures to stamp out habitat bombing for wild meat.
"We will present a draft concept plan on a 5-year statewide anti-poaching and trade strategy that we hope will be able to pool all needed resources from relevant government agencies and NGOs to tackle the scourge," Dr Laurentius said.