Sarawak recruits foreign experts for better crocodile management
KUCHING (May 26): Crocodile management will be further strengthened with the help and cooperation of foreign crocodile experts, Sarawak Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said.
The second Minister of Natural Resources and Urban Development said the crocodile experts came from Australia, South Africa and the United States, as well as the Crocodile Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN).
“The Government of Sarawak, through the SFC (Sarawak Forestry Corporation), will continue its efforts to manage the sustainability of the wild crocodile population.
“To this end, SFC prepared the first phase of the Sarawak Crocodile Management Plan (2016 to 2020) and proceeded based on three main objectives.
“The objectives are to continue efforts to conserve wild crocodiles; strengthen harmony between humans and crocodiles to ensure the safety of local populations; and carry out a detailed study on the benefits of sustainable crocodiles,” he said in his closing address to the august Chamber today.
Awang Tengah said steps that have been and will be taken are working with crocodile farm operators and increasing the number of crocodile sanctuaries across Sarawak for conservation and ecotourism purposes.
He added that other actions included increasing the number of crocodile elimination zones to ensure the safety of local residents and issuing harvesting and hunting permits for harvesting and slaughter.
Since taking over the role of Wildlife and Fully Protected Areas (TPA) management and enforcement from the Sarawak Forest Department in 2020, he said SFC has established an enforcement team and protection (PPP).
To increase the effectiveness of enforcement, he said the PPP has and will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies such as the Sarawak Forest Department, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) and the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM).
“Although movement was restricted during Covid-19, law enforcement activities continued to be carried out. From 2020 to May 2022, a total of 222 cases were investigated, of which 24 cases have been taken to court and 72 cases have resulted in compounds totaling RM 246,450. The remaining 126 cases are still under investigation,” he added.