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
"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 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.