Sabah may offer rewards to wildlife whistleblowers


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah state government is considering rewarding individuals who provide information, along with evidence, on killings or criminal activities involving wildlife to the authorities.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun said the move would hopefully increase awareness and sense of responsibility of the local communities in the protection and conservation of wildlife, while enabling appropriate action to be taken against the culprits.

“The responsibility to protect wildlife does not rest with the relevant agencies alone.

“The cooperation of the local people, to report any incident, is crucial in ensuring that evidence is not lost.

“The problem is, people are more inclined to post and viralise an incident in the social media rather than report it to the authorities for prompt action to be taken,” he told reporters when met after the state-level Warriors Day 2017 celebration here today.

He was commenting on the discovery of about 100 turtle skeletons scattered on the beaches along Kampung Pantau-Pantau, Kampung Amboh-Amboh and Kampung Sampolan on Bum-Bum Island, Semporna recently.

Masidi said the ministry did not have updates on the case which was still under investigation by the Wildlife Department.

He also said the ministry was facing certain constraints as the case allegedly involved the sea nomads who did not have any citizenship.

This complicated the investigation process besides the possibility that the individuals involved had already moved elsewhere.

He attributed the rampancy in turtle slaughter to increased demand for the exotic. To this end, he said the ministry would draw up new strategies to curb these illegal activities.

Masidi said the ministry had decided that all departments related to protection and conservation of the environment and endangered animals would be involved in the investigation and further action.

This is because the Wildlife Department did not have sufficient manpower.