Hunt for tur­tle poach­ers in east coast

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - FRONT PAGE -

KOTA KINABALU: Tur­tle poach­ers are now the ones be­ing hunted as the Sabah Wildlife En­force­ment Unit con­tin­ues its op­er­a­tion in Sabah's east coast.

Ac­cord­ing to Sabah Wildlife Depart­ment (SWD) di­rec­tor Au­gus­tine Tu­uga in a state­ment yes­ter­day, the unit launched its op­er­a­tion to hunt for tur­tle poach­ers in Sem­porna since last month.

And the op­er­a­tion had now moved in­land, he said.

"Last Sun­day (Novem­ber 12), the team raided a res­tau­rant at Mile 2, Jalan Bul­bul, Sem­porna. Meat of sus­pected pro­tected species was found be­ing kept in the res­tau­rant's freez­ers. These are sus­pected to be bearded pig, fly­ing fox, civet and pan­golin," he said.

Fur­ther in­spec­tion at the premises found two live mon­i­tor lizards and two live retic­u­lated pythons, listed un­der pro­tected species, kept in cages, he said.

As the re­sult of the find­ing, the lo­cal owner of the res­tau­rant is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated un­der Sec­tion 41(2) of the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion En­act­ment 1997.

Mean­while, on Nov 13, the unit con­ducted a road­block along the Tawau-Kal­abakan road where it de­tained a lorry driver and a pas­sen­ger, aged 60 and 61 re­spec­tively for pos­sess­ing sus­pected deer meat in their ve­hi­cle with­out a per­mit.

They were in­ves­ti­gated un­der the same sec­tion of the en­act­ment, said Au­gus­tine.

He said that the lorry was trav­el­ling to Tawau from Kal­abakan.

Dur­ing the same road­block, a 34-year-old driver of a four-wheeldrive ve­hi­cle was also de­tained for pos­sess­ing deer meat in his ve­hi­cle.

The driver was bound for Kal­abakan.

Re­cently, hun­dreds of bones from dead sea tur­tle car­casses were found scat­tered in some bushes on Pu­lau Bum Bum off Sem­porna.

Au­gus­tine had said that ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that the tur­tles may have been poached by the Ba­jau Laut or Pala'u com­mu­nity, sea gyp­sies who roam the seas, as they have been seen in the ar­eas pre­vi­ously.

Sabah has also recorded sev­eral cases of mass dead tur­tles wash­ing up onto its shores, in­clud­ing two in­ci­dents in early 2014 where 60 car­casses were found in the Pu­lau Tiga waters off Ku­dat, while an­other four at Pu­lau Bum-Bum.

In March 2015, au­thor­i­ties again dis­cov­ered 19 green tur­tle car­casses in Pu­lau Tiga waters that were be­lieved to be the re­sult of a failed at­tempt to smug­gle the an­i­mals alive.

The sus­pected deer meat at the back of the lorry.

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