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SOS Rhino : In the News : Archived News : April 2001 : Killing of rhino: 10 questioned
 

Killing of rhino: 10 questioned

 
By Raynore Mering
New Straits Times (Malaysia)
April 19, 2001

KOTA KINABALU - Ten people have been questioned over the killing of a female Sumatran rhinoceros in the Kalabakan forest reserve, south of the Maliau Basin near Tawau, last month but no one has been detained. More are expected to be quizzed by the State Wildlife Department.

"We have collected some information but we need concrete evidence," said a source in the department.

The case is being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. An offender is liable to a mandatory jail sentence of between six months and five years on conviction.

The department believes more than one person were involved in the killing of the rhinoceros, which was found decapitated and with one leg chopped off.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle known as a Hilux Double Cabin without a registration number plate was found abandoned in the jungle near the carcass.

The rhinoceros, which was about 12 years old, had seven shotgun pellets embedded in its body.

The Department has appealed for information on the killing.

Worldwide Fund for Nature Malaysia Borneo programme director Dr. Geoffrey Davison said stricter enforcement of laws was needed to ensure a better chance of survival for the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros.

"We appreciate the difficulties the department has with enforcement. If the department had more resources to deal with this, poaching would less likely happen," he said.

He said last year WWF Malaysia and the department started a project for sustainable conservation of Asian elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros in the State.

This, he said, included strengthening the protected areas and establishing a corridor for these mammals.

"No one is certain about the number of Sumatran rhinos in Sabah and that's why this project is being done to identify the number, the distribution, range and more importantly, methods of conserving them," said Davison.




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