2019 a year of challenges for Sabah’s wildlife conservation efforts | Malaysia


The death of Iman, the last female Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, on November 23, was one of the most devastating news to be reported by the Sabah Wildlife Department.― Photo courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department

KOTA KINABALU, December 28 – 2019 has been a difficult year for Sabah in terms of preserving and conserving its wildlife and environment, which has witnessed several tragic events including the threat of extinction of some of the most important species. threatened by the state.

This “leeward land” has never escaped media attention on wildlife issues throughout the year.

The death of Iman, the last female Sumatran rhino in Malaysia, on November 23, was one of the most devastating news for the Sabah Wildlife Department (JHL) a month earlier.

The Sabahans weren’t the only ones feeling the sadness of losing the female rhino, like most Malaysians, and the news of Iman’s passing caught the world’s attention as she is officially extinct in Malaysia.

Iman was pronounced dead at 5:35 p.m. at Borneo Rhinoceros Sanctuary (BRS) in Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary, Lahad Datu, which dealt a major blow to conservation efforts for the species and other endangered species.

More tragically, Iman’s death came about six months after the country lost Tam, the last male rhino in Sumatra, to heart and lung failure on May 27.

Besides the rhino, another endangered mammal of Sabah is the Borneo pygmy elephant. 24 deaths have been recorded this year alone and, shockingly, five elephant deaths have been reported in the space of four months.

Borneo’s first elephant carcass was discovered in the ravine of Sungai Udin, Dumpas, Kalabakan, Tawau on September 25 and JHL Sabah described the elephant’s death as brutal murder, with post-mortem results revealing approximately 70 bullets embedded in the body.

Several non-governmental organizations offered rewards of up to RM 30,000 to those who could provide information and the rapid response of the police force and JHL Sabah by launching Ops Khazanah, led to the detention of five residents and an illegal immigrant as well as five firearms, 59 live bullets, 53 shell casings and elephant tusks.

The dust had barely settled when another Borneo elephant was found shot dead on October 19 at an oil palm plantation in Beluran, and two weeks later a Borneo elephant carcass was found floating in the Kinabatangan River on November 3 before another elephant was found dead in Sukau on November 16!

More recently, another elephant carcass was found by a farm worker in Bakapit, Lahad Datu, on December 9.

Since 2010, 145 cases of elephant deaths have been recorded in Sabah, among others, due to poaching, revenge, poisoning, accidents, disease and the rest are unknown.

The numbers recorded over the past 10 years are huge, especially considering the state of elephant species in Sabah which is on the brink of extinction with only around 2,000 species remaining.

It is undeniable that wildlife hunters are a major problem across the country and have caught the attention of Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, who has taken drastic measures by launching “Ops Bersepadu Khazanah (OBK) to curb the activities of illegal poachers of for-profit tigers, pangolins, porcupines and elephants.

In fact, there are VVIPs in the country who have been identified as being actively involved in illegal hunting around the jungle of the peninsula.

The war on poaching hasn’t stopped the police from redoubling their efforts to track down the culprits by controlling restaurants serving exotic menus of these protected animals. – Bernama

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