Media reports on illegal hunting can hamper authorities’ hunt for poachers – SFC

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By Chew Lip Song

TRACING illegal hunters in Sarawak will be difficult if the media prematurely highlights such activities as they’d allow the perpetrators to cover their tracks, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) said.

Responding to media reports about alleged illegal hunting of sun bears in Sarawak, SFC said it was verifying the news although preliminary investigations showed that some of the cases had taken place outside the state.

“The viral behavior or even posting it in the newspapers somehow affected the on-going investigation as the suspects will immediately remove their postings to avoid being detected or traced, and such situation made the investigation incomplete.

“There are some processes and procedures that need to be followed in the investigation and it takes time to conclude. So, please be patient. Let us do our work first. We will get back to you on the progress,” Controller of Wild Life, Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, said in a statement carried on the SFC Facebook page today.

He stressed that while hunting wildlife is permitted with a licence in West Malaysia and Sabah, it is not in Sarawak. “The gun licence issued by respective authorities is only for the purpose of crop protection, but was found to be abused by irresponsible people,” Zolkipli added.

The SFC has urged the public with information on illegal hunting to report them. The hotline numbers are  Kuching (019-8859996, 013-8110150), Sibu (019-8883561), Bintulu (019-8223449, 019-8332737), or Miri (019-8224566, 019-8290994).

It was reported that the endangered Bornean sun bears were being hunted, despite the legal prohibition. Some of the hunters even posed with their dead catch in a popular hunter’s group on Facebook.

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre has highlighted the illegal activities on its social media, which has since gone viral.

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