One of the more recent cases where a female Banteng was shot by poachers in the vicinity of Maliau Basin last October 2017.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Estate Manager in Lahad Datu chief suspect in Sabah poaching incident
1st December 2017;

A senior manager of a plantation company based in Lahad Datu is believed to be key suspect of a poaching syndicate operating in the east coast of Sabah.

The man’s latest conquest was the killing of a Banteng (Bos javanicus) in the protected Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu last month, and his dastardly act also proved to be his undoing as he has since been transferred out to Sarawak.

That is not all, as the authorities are looking at legal action against the culprit, said to be from a certain ethnic group that most would not expect to be involved in poaching.

Sam Mannan, the Chief Conservator of Forests, Sabah, said he could not reveal more as the case was still under investigation.

“There will be a prosecution,” was all he said at the Bornean Banteng International Workshop and Conference held here on Thursday.

Mannan did not mince his words when he rebuked the actions of poachers and said it was an “embarrassment” to the people with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

“We had warned them that this was happening. The people in peninsular Malaysia like beef, and there is an emerging market of exotic meat; therefore, these Banteng meat and payau (Sambar) (Rusa unicolor) or local deer, are in demand,” he said.

The poaching of the endangered and totally protected species of wild cattle, also known as as tembadau locally, was ironically carried out during the recent Heart of Borneo (HoB) conference.

It was one of three Banteng poaching cases that were recorded over three days in three different areas – the other two being the Maliau Basin and Sipitang Forest Reserve.

All three cases are unrelated.

According to Mannan, the suspect was identified through photographs with a carcass of the Banteng that he downed with a high powered rifle at Tabin.

“We have focused in on one person, but this one person could lead us to so much more information,” he said, adding the hunters were not local villagers but outsiders who either killed for sport or trade.

According to Mannan, the rising demand for Banteng meat in Peninsular Malaysia is one reason for the high incidence of poaching the Banteng.

He said the initial investigation has led them to believe that the meat was not meant for own consumption but to meet demand for exotic meat in Peninsular Malaysia.

Earlier, Benoit Goossens, the Danau Girang field centre director told the conference there were three Banteng poaching incidents at the three different protected areas here were carried out by poachers carrying sophisticated guns and were wearing proper gear.

He said since an estimated 70 per cent of poaching went unrecorded, this meant that as many as a dozen Banteng may be killed each year.

“With only a population of fewer than 400, this (12) is a massive number. Many herds live in small pockets of isolation and they cannot afford to lose a single individual.

"At that rate of poaching, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis,” he said.

The Banteng is the second most endangered animal in Sabah after the Rhinos and the Wildlife Department has classified it as a totally protected animal.

Source: Borneo Today

One of the more recent cases where a female Banteng was shot by poachers in the vicinity of Maliau Basin last October 2017.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Plantation manager behind one of Banteng shootings, says Sabah Forestry Department
By Kristy Inus, 30th November 2017;

Sabah Forestry Department has identified a plantation manager as a suspect behind the killing of one of the three Bornean Banteng (Bos javanicus last month.

Its chief forest conservator Datuk Sam Mannan in revealing this today said the man was also believed to be involved in the selling of the meat for the Peninsular Malaysia market.

He said with an estimate of less than 400 Bantengs left in Sabah, the species, also known as Tembadau, is the most endangered large mammal in this state and currently listed under the Totally Protected Species.

Authorities had recently revealed that the three killings in October happened at Maliau, Sipitang and Tabin conservation or forest reserve areas. It was learnt that the plantation manager has been identified in one of the photographs seized, where he posed with a Banteng carcass.

“It is no longer a suspicion because we have nabbed the individual… There will be a prosecution later… So this is still under investigation and we believe the person can provide more information,

"We expect more (individuals) from within this (oil palm) industry,” said Sam, after opening the Bornean Banteng international workshop to discuss the conservation of the species.

He described their actions as an “embarrassment” to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) initiative.

Sam added that the department was also looking for a foreigner, who acted as a ‘scout’ for the poachers.

Meanwhile, Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) research and training facility director Dr Benoit Goossens said to shoot a Banteng, one would require a sophisticated firearm with special bullets.

He said this year, four Banteng killings have been identified, but cases were estimated to average around 12 annually including those that went unreported.

“As for transporting or sending it to the Peninsular market, it was easy because the culprits can just put the Banteng meat in cooler boxes and authorities, thinking it to be buffalo meat will just let them through,” he explained.

As for the setting up of a dedicated wildlife enforcement team to face poachers as announced by the department previously, Benoit said a crime analyst would beneficial for the squad.

"Information gathered needed to be analysed, so the enforcement team can go to places they can likely catch the poachers,” he added.

Goossens said due to the limited population of Banteng in Sabah, a captive breeding programme is also being discussed in the workshop.

“We need to increase population for example at Sipitang or Sugut reserves areas where there are not enough individuals to survive there even without poaching.

"We need to start the captive breeding programme from now and the target is not to lose anymore numbers… or else the species will suffer the same fate like the Sumatran Rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis) 20 years down the road.” he stressed.

Source: New Straits Times

One of the more recent cases where a female Banteng was shot by poachers in the vicinity of Maliau Basin last October 2017.
Photo: Danau Girang Field Centre

Malaysia: Plantation manager in Sabah unmasked as poacher
30th November 2017;

A senior plantation manager has been identified as a suspect behind one of three Banteng (Bos javanicus) killings last month, and of selling the meat for consumption in peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said that the suspect was identified through photographs with a carcass of the wild cattle that is known locally as tembadau, an endangered and totally protected species in Sabah.

“We have identified more suspects within this industry. It cannot be anyone else, they belong to a certain ethnic group that we would not expect to be involved in this kind of hunting,” he said.

“We have focused in on one person, but this one person could lead us to so much more information. We will know soon, there will be a prosecution, he said.

Mannan said he could not reveal more as the case was still under investigation.

However, he rebuked the actions of poachers and said it was an "embarrassment” to the people with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

“We had warned them that this was happening. The people in peninsular Malaysia like beef, and there is an emerging market of exotic meat; therefore, these Banteng meat and payau (Sambar) (Rusa unicolor) or local deer, are in demand,” he said.

He was speaking at the Bornean Banteng International Workshop and Conference.

Mannan said they knew the hunters were not villagers who did so as part of their local customs, but outsiders who either killed for sport or trade. He also did not know if the guns used were licensed and registered.

Earlier, Danau Girang field centre director Benoit Goossens told the conference there were three Banteng poaching incidents in three different protected areas here — Maliau Basin, Sipitang forest reserve and Tabin Wildlife reserve — in just three days.

"They were carrying sophisticated guns and were wearing proper gear, so you know they are city people,” he said.

He said since an estimated 70 per cent of poaching went unrecorded, this meant that as many as a dozen Banteng may be killed each year.

“With only a population of fewer than 400, this (12) is a massive number. Many herds live in small pockets of isolation and they cannot afford to lose a single individual.

"At that rate of poaching, the species will not survive another 20 years and we will lose it like we lost our Sumatran Rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatraensis),” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

The Bornean Pygmy Elephant carcass was found at Cenderamata Plantation at Jalan Merotai-Kalabakan, near Tawau, Sabah.
Photo: Sabah Wildlife Department

Malaysia: Bornean Pygmy Elephant found dead with gunshot wounds in Sabah
By Poliana Ronnie Sidom, 16th November 2017;

TAWAU: A Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) carcass with three gunshot wounds was found within the Cenderamata Plantation at Jalan Merotai-Kalabakan, near here.

Plantation workers discovered the dead bull on Tuesday and alerted the authority. The Elephant was believed to have been shot by poachers.

Sabah Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said the department despatched officers to the site to conduct post-mortem and conduct further investigation.

“The tusk is still intact and post-mortem result found three bullets on the carcass. The Elephant could have been shot elsewhere and fled.

"We are trying to track down the culprit and are also looking for those, who witnessed the shooting incident, so they can furnish us with information,” he said.

In September, the carcasses of two Bornean Pygmy Elephant – one without its tusks – were found in two separate locations in Sabah’s east coast.

The first discovery involved a male calf with its tusks still intact. It was found dead in the plantation area in Dumpas Tawau.

While an adult male Elephant was found floating in the Kinabatangan river.

In August, plantation workers also spotted an adult Bornean Pygmy Elephant struggling for its life after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds in an oil palm plantation the Malua Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan.

The adult female Elephant, however, succumbed to its injuries.

Source: New Straits Times

Thailand: Source links state officials to Gaur killings
Plans mooted to move herd to another area
14th November 2017;

State officials may have been complicit in the poaching of two Gaurs (Bos gaurus) found dead in a forest in Wang Nam Khieo district of Nakhon Ratchasima at the weekend, according to a police source.

The source said district police were collecting evidence and questioning witnesses for clues in order identify the poachers responsible for the killing of the two Gaurs.

Police believe a group of hunters may have killed the animals, as one was found stripped of its meat with its head missing, on the order of black market traders in wild meats and organs.

The source said government officials may be involved in the illegal trade of Gaur meat and involved in the killing of the two animals.

About 300 Gaurs are believed to be roaming the 5,000-rai forest in the protected zone of the Khao Phang Ma mountain where the two Gaurs were found dead.

On Nov 8, another Gaur was shot dead in the middle of a tapioca farm near Wat Pa Wang Sai, also in Wang Nam Khieo district, leading to the arrest of a tapioca farmer, who allegedly shot and killed the animal when it raided the farm in search of food.

According to officials, the two mature Gaurs appeared to have been shot by poachers, and one of them, a female, was stripped of its meat and innards and its head was missing.

Their carcasses were found by residents near the foot of the Khao Phang Ma mountain. The body of the second, a male Gaur, was left untouched.

The female bovine weighed more than 500 kilogrammes and the bull more than a tonne, according to officials.

On Monday, a forensic test showed the bull, about 10 years old, sustained a single fatal shot through its lungs, which exited through its back.

Experts from the Khao Yai National Park said the male Gaur, after having been shot, had tried to run away before it collapsed and died. It had been dead for at least seven days before its body was discovered along with the female Gaur on Saturday.

Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chantharanothai chaired an urgent meeting Monday with national park and wildlife sanctuary officials. Authorities are now working on immediate measures to stop the poaching of wild animals in national forests.

Emerging from the meeting, Mr Wichian said in the past the wild animals had sometimes been shot by farmers after straying onto their land and causing damage.

One solution suggested at the meeting was relocating the 300 Gaurs from Khao Phang Ma and moving them eight kilometres to the nearby Phu Luang forest which borders the Pak Chong and Pak Thong Chai districts.

Source: Bangkok Post

Thailand: Forestry officials and police hunt for poachers responsible for shooting Gaurs
13th November 2017;

Forestry rangers and police today began to hunt for a group of poachers responsible for the shooting of three Gaurs (Bos gaurus) in Wang Nam Khieu district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

Forestry rangers said they believed this group of poachers has past record of hunting Gaurs in Khao Paeng Ma wildlife sanctuary in Wang Na Khuiu district of Nakhon Ratchasima province.

The poachers are believed still in the sanctuary and officials are questioning villagers and village headmen headmen in the areas for clues in hunting this group of poachers.

The police indicated that the group was run by a teacher who has been in the wildlife meat business.

Forestry rangers said there are about 300 Gaurs in the wildlife sanctuary and this year seven had been killed by poachers.

Villagers in Tambon Wang Nam Khieu alerted officials on Sunday of the finding of two dead Gaurs near Khao Paeng Ma mountain in Village 4, Ban Khao Paeng Ma.

One of the two had all its meat and intestines cut off and taken away leaving behind its head and skin. The other was still intact. Both were estimated to weigh about one tonne each.

Forestry rangers of Khao Paeng Ma wildlife sanctuary have lodged a complaint with Wang Nam Khieu district police to investigate the incident.

Regarding the first dead Gaur which was found in a tapioca plantation in Ban Tha Wangsai, Tambon Wang Mee, it was reported that police had arrested one suspect, the owner of the tapioca plantation which was trespassed by the Gaur.

Source: Thai PBS

Thailand: Authorities convene meeting to curb Gaur killings
13th November 2017;

Meetings to solve conflicts between local farmers and wild Gaurs (Bos gaurus) have begun after three of the animals were killed near the Khao Phaeng Ma wildlife sanctuary in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Wichien Chantharanothai summoned the Wang Nam Khieo district sheriff, local police, the Pak Chong district sheriff, a representative from the Khao Phaeng Ma wildlife sanctuary, a representative from Thap Lan National Park National Park, a representative from Khao Yai National Park and business sector representatives to a meeting at Sakaerat Environmental Research Station in Wang Nam Khieo District on Monday.

Wichien said the participants were trying to agree on mutually beneficial solutions to solve chronic problems between farmers and wild gaurs and establish protections banning hunting the animal.

Gaurs are on the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department’s protected wild animal list, with killing one punishable by four years in jail, a Bt40,000 fine or both.

Police said they were searching for the hunters, while investigators suspected that local farmers were responsible for the two animals that were found dead on Sunday. However they did not rule out that poachers could have been responsible.

Source: The Nation