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JOHOR BARU, Sept 11 — The Johor Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) will enhance cooperation with relevant enforcement agencies in an effort to address wildlife poaching activities in the state.
Its director Salman Saaban said investigations would also be conducted to identify whether its personnel are involved in protecting the illegal activities.
He said Johor Perhilitan viewed seriously poaching activities that are still going on in the state and several measures have been taken including working with other relevant enforcement agencies as well as conducting regular operations.
“Perhilitan will always ensure that all of our personnel are ready to serve the country with full integrity in order to effectively combat poaching and protect the country’s biodiversity treasures,” he told Bernama recently.
On the arrest of six individuals including a woman in Mersing and Kluang last month for their alleged involvement in poaching activities, Salman said Johor Perhilitan would continue to work closely with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to take action against those involved in the illegal activities.
“Johor Perhilitan, in collaboration with the General Operations Force, PDRM, the state forestry department, the Johor National Parks Corporation, the Perak State Parks Corporation as well non-governmental organisations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Pelindung also launched an operation dubbed Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah (OBK) on Sept 3 last year.
“The integrated operation is aimed at curbing poaching, smuggling of wildlife and other offences under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) as well as other related acts,” he said.
Salman said a total of 16 series of OBK were conducted in the state from 2019 until August 9 this year.
From the operations conducted, he said 37 individuals including foreigners were detained for allegedly being involved in illegal hunting and wildlife smuggling activities.
Salman said various species of wildlife such as burung daun sayap biru (blue-winged leafbird), ayam hutan (red jungle fowl), murai batu (white-rumped shama) as well as animal parts like wild boar, bearded pig and sambar deer meat and Malayan porcupine thorns estimated to be worth RM441,860 were also seized.
A total of 299 animal traps and snares were also destroyed while eight vehicles, a boat and two guns worth about RM310,000 were also seized, he added.
Salman said so far, three cases have been tried in court and the offenders had been sentenced, while three more cases are in the process of being charged and 15 cases are still under investigation.
Apart from OBK, he said the Biodiversity Protection and Patrolling Programme (BP3), aimed at protecting the national forest treasures was implemented last June.
Through the programme, 12 people comprising military veterans and the Orang Asli community were appointed on a contract basis to help control the Endau-Rompin National Park.
Last month, the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar expressed anger over poaching activities that are still going on in the state forests. — Bernama