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Widespread illegal Gaharu trade in Malaysia
In Malaysia, poachers not only went into the jungle to hunt protected wildlife but also to harvest protected species of Gaharu.
IN late July, enforcement agencies in Hulu Perak successfully demonstrated how teamwork could overcome the challenges of fighting wily and well-organised criminals who have long plundered Malaysia’s forests.
In their maiden operation, the six-member agencies of a newly created anti-poaching task force raided several premises at a jetty in Pulau Banding, Perak, the Jeti Mohd Shah Resort.
They seized two tonnes of agarwood or gaharu and 31 mahseer fish or ikan kelah — both high on poachers’ 'shopping' list.
This has been one of the biggest seizures of wildlife coming out of the Belum-Temengor forests, all due to joint efforts of the Anti-Smuggling Unit, police, Perak State Parks Corporation, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Fisheries Department and Perak State Forestry Department.
TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and WWF-Malaysia would like to congratulate the multi-agency task force on their significant seizure last month and highlight it as an example of an effective approach to tackling a complex problem.
Individually, these agencies lack the funds and manpower to mount the kind of operations necessary to stay a step ahead of poachers and wildlife traffickers.
Also, these agencies have traditionally focused on issues that relate directly to their own departments. They work in the same area but separately with each agency stretching its meagre resources across the same vast landscape where they carry out their enforcement work.
The task force taking shape under the direction of the Gerik District Security Council, headed by Hulu Perak district officer Datuk Abdul Karim Osman, is already helping to change this scenario.
Bringing State and Federal agencies together, marshalling resources, sharing information and empowering all agencies to act, whatever the nature of the crime might be, is exactly what needs to done to combat poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
The agarwood seized in Pulau Banding is just a symptom of a widespread poaching epidemic. From our research and past enforcement action, we know that the wood is among the main reasons why many poachers are drawn to our forests.
While searching for this fragrant resin, they will poach any other wildlife that comes their way.
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