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Stop Encroaching National Parks Which are Home to Unique Animals and Plants

Maludam is home to less than 400 red banded langur. Photo: ? Jason Hon

Maludam is home to less than 400 red banded langur.

World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) lauds recent enforcement operations to curb illegal logging in Maludam National Park which resulted in the arrest of 10 suspects.

Congratulating Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), the 10th Battalion General Operation Force (GOF) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for a job well done, WWF-Malaysia said the state cannot afford to continue to lose her natural heritage.

WWF-Malaysia’s Head of Sarawak Conservation Programme Dr Jason Hon called on the authorities to trace where the illegal logs and timber were destined, so the masterminds behind these illegal operations can also be brought to court of justice.

He said Maludam National Park was gazetted as a totally protected area in 2000 and was extended in 2015.

“This national park is the largest protected peat swamp forest in Sarawak, covering 53,568ha. It is unique because it is home to the only known population of red banded langur, estimated at less than 400, based on a survey done in 2006,” he said in a press statement today, responding to SFC’s successful joint enforcement operations, Operasi Bersatu Khazanah.

This national park is the largest protected peat swamp forest in Sarawak. Photo: ? Mazidi Abd Ghani / WWF-Malaysia

Dr Hon said Maludam National Park also contains healthy populations of other primate species such as proboscis monkey and silvered langur, as well as all six phasic communities of peat swamp vegetations.

“The national park is a catchment that supplies freshwater to the coastal Maludam community. As such, we cannot allow our natural heritage to be desecrated by unscrupulous individuals,” he pointed out.

He also urged the public to do their part in protecting the state’s natural heritage by sharing information through SFC’s hotline.

Maludam National Park is important for biodiversity conservation and the local community who lives surrounding the park. Photo: ? WWF-Malaysia

Earlier today (July 30), SFC posted in its social media platform that 10 suspects were nabbed for encroaching Maludam National Park. SFC, GOF and MACC carried out patrols under Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah at Maludam National Park area from 24 to 28 July 2020.

It was reported that on July 25, around 10am, the team arrested eight suspects red-handed with seven chainsaws and 347 pieces of different sizes and species of logs. Eight bicycles and nine motorbikes that were used to transport logs were also seized. Later, they caught another two suspects in possession of chainsaws, two bicycles and motorbikes. The enforcement agencies also found another 45 logs in the park. These cases were handed over to the Forest Department for their investigation.

In SFC’s social media posting quoting Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, CEO of SFC who is also the Controller of National Parks and Nature Reserves, he said, five police reports had been made, and the 10 suspects are currently on police bail. They would be investigated under the National Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance, 1998.

“We will not tolerate any trespassing, hunting and encroachment into the totally protected areas and those caught will be brought to justice,” he added.

Members of the public with information on similar illegal activities are urged to contact SFC hotlines at 016-8565564 / 019-8859996 (Kuching), 019-8883561 (Sibu), 019-8223449 / 019-8332737 (Bintulu) and 019-8290994 / 018-9799778 (Miri).

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