KUCHING, 1 MARCH 2017- The Sarawak Government remains committed to address prevailing human-crocodile conflicts through a comprehensive programme of culling and removal of crocodiles undertaken by SARAWAK FORESTRY Corporation (SFC).
“To date, SFC’s Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) had conducted 73 culling and removal operations all over the State since this special unit was set up in 2013. Last year alone, a total of 20 operations were carried out and in 2017, 2 culling operations had been conducted up to February,” said a statement issued by SFC today.
“Crocodile removal efforts would continue and operations by our SWAT at the regional level will be intensified especially at the following CRZs (Crocodile Removal Zones): Kuching Region- Sg. Santubong, Sg. Bako and Sg. Sarawak; Sibu Region-Sg. Krian; Miri Region- Sg. Limbang and Sg. Miri; Bintulu Region- Sg. Kemena. In addition to that, we will continue to monitor ‘high risk’ rivers and step up culling operations at the concerned river systems such as Sg. Samarahan and Sg. Skrang in Kuching Region; Batang Oya and Batang Sebelak in Sibu Region; Sg. Tinjar and Sg. Suai in Miri Region and Sg. Similajau and Sg. Likau for the Bintulu Region,” the statement added.
“Apart from that, we have also been successful to downlist saltwater crocodiles from Appendix I to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This downlisting allows sustainable harvesting of crocodiles from the wild for international trade. Consequently, we had conducted dialogue sessions in Kota Samarahan, Kuching, Sri Aman and Serian last week to gather feedback and input from the community so that we could fine tune the State’s Crocodile Management Plan especially on the issuance of licenses to the public for crocodile culling,” the statement further added.
The SFC statement went on to say that despite the downlisting, the crocodile is still a protected species under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998. SFC also warned the public to be vigilant when using the river system in view of the “landas” season as well as the start of the breeding season for crocodiles.