Recent hornbill poaching highlights threat to wildlife in Sarawak
by Cecilia Sman
MIRI: The case of the three suspects – all locals in their 20s – arrested around 5 pm on Tuesday evening for hornbill poaching is still being investigated by Sarawak Forestry Corporation and once completed will be forwarded to the Forestry Department and the State Attorney General.
SFC Deputy General Manager, (Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division) Oswald Braken Tisen said poaching was worrying in Sarawak including Miri with turtle eggs and wild boar meat topping the list.
“Some people think that turtle eggs bought from neighbouring Indonesia, especially the Serikin border is not against the law. They are mistaken, as long as it is brought into Sarawak the penalty is under the Wildlife Ordinance,” said Braken without given details of the cases on poaching.
He warned that there was no compromise for those who said they are ignorant of the law.
As for the killing of Faridah, it was the first major poaching on hornbills reported in the division.
Meanwhile, Musa Musbah, SFC Honorary Forest Ranger while thanking the police and the SFC on the success in detained the three suspects and the mass media for highlighting the case, hoped that the people would give their support towards making Piasau Camp a nature park.
He said Faridah and Jimmy had produced 56 offspring since 2005 but regretfully only five were currently spotted at Piasau Camp. They included Jimmy, and his four young offspring – Nong and Utet, and Ahkaw and Ahmoi.
“The youngest one – Ahkaw and Ahmoi will survive without Faridah. They can feed themselves but they are too friendly with humans so the risk of being poached is high.
“Jimmy on the other hand being partners for life, might stop searching for Faridah and become sad and will not eat and die of hunger,” said Musa, also chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, (MNS) Miri Chapter and the pro tem vice chairman of the Piasau Camp Nature Park Society (PCNPS).
The society’s Chairman, Datuk Sebastian Ting said the society together with MNS, Miri Chapter will intensify the educational programmes on conservation of Piasau Camp and its wildlife including hornbills.
Among their upcoming activities are the 5th Hornbill Walk at Piasau Camp tomorrow at 2 pm, in memory of Faridah, and the continuing the petition campaign at both the social media and going to the general public and to students.
“We will also soon send the petition forms and requests to the government and the relevant authorities to gazette the camp as public permanent nature park,” said Ting.
Hornbills and other wildlife including various species of birds are among the attractions at Piasau Camp a historical place, synonymous with Miri’s oil and gas industry, while hornbill itself is indisputably, the king of birds in Sarawak and is synonymous with Sarawak which is called the Land of the Hornbill and used in the state emblem.
Besides the matured forest could act as the green lung for Miri City and buffer zone against strong winds and waves.
It is Mirians’ hope that when Shell give back the land lease to the government, the area would be gazetted the area as permanent public nature park in line with the Miri City Council’s greening emphasis, instead of other commercial development. It too could become a tourism product.