(Lubok Antu, April 06, 2018) The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), Royal Malaysian Police and the Armed Forces announced today that a joint enforcement operation conducted in Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary in Malaysia resulted in the arrest of six suspects on March 22nd.
The suspects, who are foreign nationals, were apprehended while camping in the protected area and in possession of tools believed to be used for extraction of high-value internationally protected agarwood. A gun was also confiscated during the arrest.
CEO of Sarawak Forestry Corporation Tuan Haji Zol said, “Sarawak Forestry Corporation is most glad that the multi-agency patrol was able to grab all of the perpetrators and their tools. We hope that such cooperation will continue to happen as it is most needed now and in the future. This is essential as Sarawak needs to protect its natural resources and this does not just include implementing the enforcement, but investments in trainings on new enforcement techniques.”
Agarwood is prized for its aromatic qualities and is used for incense, medicinal purposes, perfume, cultural purposes and more—making it an attractive target for poachers.
Based on the enforcement team’s previous experiences, it was noted that the area where the suspects were arrested may be a hot spot for nefarious activity.
The suspects may be prosecuted for several offenses including gun possession, illegal entry into Malaysia, and illegal entry into a protected area. The enforcement team believe that they got to the site early and prevented any atrocities to wildlife.
“Working relationships with various agencies is proving to be vital for conservation in this landscape, especially with SFC, as they have increasingly placed more importance on protection,” said Melvin Gumal, WCS Country Program Director for Malaysia. ”Galvanizing agencies like the Police and Army with speed and adeptness is commendable. WCS believes that conservation success happens as the result of collective action and is the product of a skilled and efficient multi-agency approach.”
The case has been handed over to the Forest Department, Royal Malaysian Police and Immigration Department for further action.
This protected area enforcement effort is supported by the Arcus Foundation, Fondation Segré, the Whitley Fund for Nature, and the Enlyst Fund.