Sanctity of Piasau ‘Hornbill’ Garden violated

by Cecilia Sman

According to a couple they saw one of them holding the head and tying the leg of a hornbill before putting it in a van. I confronted them and asked them to give me the bird but they refused and drove off in the van.

Musa Musbah, SFC honorary wildlife ranger

 

MIRI:  Three men brazenly defied the law by hunting the totally protected hornbills at Piasau Garden in full view of horrified onlookers.

 

Even the presence of Musa Musbah the Honorary Wildlife Ranger of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) did not deter them from catching at least one of the birds.

 

Musa told The Borneo Post yesterday he rushed to the camp after former Pujut State Assemblyman, Andy Chia called him about the trio hunting the hornbills there.

 

FEARED KILLED: Two of the hornbills who have become so familiar with people frequenting the Piasau Garden they are affectionately called Ah Kow and Ah Moi spotted at Piasau Camp on Monday evening.

FEARED KILLED: Two of the hornbills – Ah Kow and Ah Moi – who have become so familiar to people frequenting Piasau Garden spotted at Piasau Camp on Monday evening.

 

“I went there and they were still there. According to a couple they saw one of them holding the head and tying the leg of a hornbill before putting it in a van.

 

I confronted them and asked them to give me the bird but they refused and drove off in the van,” he said.

 

Musa added that he had made a police report against the three men for catching the hornbills.

 

It should be easy for the police to nab the hunters because they did not bother to cover their faces and were photographed near their van.

 

Musa, is also the Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, (MNS) Miri Chapter and the pro tem vice chairman of the Piasau Camp Nature Park Society (PCNPS) pointed out because the hornbills were friendly with people it was easy for the men to catch them.

 

Meanwhile Deputy General Manager, (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) of the Sarawak Foresty Corporation (SFC), Oswald Braken Tisen said there would be no compromise on those defying the State’s Wildlife Protection Ordinance (1998).

 

He also warned that ignorance of the law is no excuse for the people who caught the hornbills at Piasau Camp.

 

“Ignorance of the law does not mean you can be above the law,” said Braken when contacted by the Borneo Post to comment on the alleged hunting of the hornbills yesterday.

 

He said his staff here had been directed to investigate the case and to take the necessary legal actions against the culprits.

 

Datuk Sebastian Ting (pro tem Chairman of PCNPS) and Andy Chia ( pro tem Secretary of PCNPS) voiced their anger on those hunting the hornbills.

 

“It is terrible and unacceptable act and I hoped that SFC and the police will catch the culprits,” said Ting.

 

Chia commented “it is very sad that these guys hunt our state’s totally protected birds, in our own backyard in Piasau Garden.”

 

Hornbills are totally protected in the state under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998).

 

Penalties for keeping one as a pet, killing, hunting, capturing, selling, trading or disturbing them, or possessing any recognisable parts of these birds are severe – a RM25,000 fine and three years’ imprisonment

 

The Piasau Camp, a forested area cleared in the 1950’s to build 175 wooden houses for Shell’s employees is home to a flock of Oriental Pied Hornbill which had made the area their homes.

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