Corruption Main Challenge In Overcoming Wildlife Crimes

Posted on June 22, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

(Bernama) — Poaching and smuggling of exotic wildlife here continues unabated as these wildlife crimes are aided by a ‘third force’.

That ‘force’, which goes by the unsavoury name of corruption, is considered the main challenge in combating such crimes.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said, although the situation was not alarming in the state, there have been instances where, out of the blues, Borneo wildlife was recorded or photographed in other parts of the world, suggesting foul play at work.

“Suddenly, we see pictures on ‘Youtube’ or somewhere online, of some Borneo animals sitting comfortably in other parts of the world, for example wild cats.

“As far as we are concerned, it is impossible that wild cats are smuggled out (of the state) without our knowledge…it means some people have been opening doors for these people (smugglers).

“I can only say it must have cost the fellow for that door to be opened, because you don’t open doors for no reason and I can only see corruption as the main reason,” he told reporters after opening the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Wildlife Trade Regulation and Species Identification Course on Tuesday.

Therefore, Masidi reasoned, no matter how strict the imposition of regulations, if corruption was still part of the culture here, it would be difficult to overcome the smuggling of exotic animals.

To address wildlife crimes, Masidi said the government had come up with three steps. They are:

* ensure no poaching or illegal hunting was carried out;

* step up enforcement skills to detect new means of smuggling; and,

* keep tabs on the use of courier services to transport animals.

He said the three-day course would see the three countries involved in HoB, namely Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia, exchanging notes and finding ways to share new strategies to combat wildlife smuggling.

“HoB is a cross-boundary area encompassing more than one quarter of whole area of Borneo, which we believe, houses some of the most exotic animals in Borneo,” he added.

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