‘Progress made in wildlife protection, prosecution in


KOTA KINABALU: There has been a huge improvement in wildlife protection and prosecution of wildlife-related offences over the past few years in Sabah, says Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

This comes following the introduction of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Project, she added.

The INL project, which comes under the Danau Girang Field Centre, a research institute in Kinabatangan, and the Sabah Wildlife Department, has managed to produce the desired results, she said.

“The INL pilot project has created specialised teams in the state wildlife department for intelligence and forensic work. I was informed by the Sabah Wildlife Department director that since 2019, there has been no more killing of elephants and marine turtles,” she said in a statement.The INL project, which aims to boost enforcement and forensic capacity to deter wildlife trafficking in Sabah, runs for five years, from 2019 until this year.

Liew said she was also told that under the state wildlife department’s training programme, an intelligence unit and a forensic unit were formed, led by two officers, Natalia Nadia Yahya and Nur Alwanie Maruji, respectively.

She said both the Danau Girang Field Centre and the state wildlife department were recently awarded funds by the US government to deal with illegal wildlife trade and improve the prosecution of wildlife crimes in Sabah by building investigative and enforcement capacity within the department.

She added that specialised teams worked closely with relevant agencies and stakeholders to resolve wildlife crime cases.

Separately, Liew received a courtesy call from Allison Lajeskie from the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Office of Global Programs and Policy Counter Wildlife Trafficking (South-East Asia and Pacific) on Tuesday.

Lajeskie told her that the purpose of her five-day visit to Sabah was to meet with people to better understand the realities on the ground regarding wildlife trafficking and to also see the progress of the INL support through the Danau Girang Field Centre.

Danau Girang’s scientific adviser and project coordinator Dr Milena Salgado Lynn said they have created a wildlife crime database at the wildlife department that may be accessible to other wildlife-related agencies in Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula.Dr Lynn said poaching and other wildlife-related illegal activities in Sabah prompted Danau Girang and the wildlife department to apply for a US government grant for the INL Project five years ago.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said examples of wildlife-related convictions include a four-year jail sentence meted out to an Indonesian man in 2021 for killing an endangered Borneo pygmy elephant in Tawau in 2019.

In another conviction, a foreign national was jailed for four years and fined RM200,000 for possessing the body parts of green turtles in Semporna in 2022.

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