HUMAN - WILDLIFE CONFLICT IN SARAWAK MR. OSWALD BRAKEN TISEN
Mr. Oswald Braken Tisen (Sarawak Forestry Corporation)
Mr. Oswald Braken Tisen from Sarawak Forestry Corporation provided an overview of human-wildlife conflicts in Sarawak and the State Government’s mitigation efforts. Most of the HWCs in the state involved saltwater crocodiles (including fatal attacks) and the long-tailed macaques. Since 2012, there has been at least 4 cases of fatal attacks annually in Sarawak, which was caused by saltwater crocodiles.
To address these HWCs, Sarawak established a dedicated unit (Swift Wildlife Action Team/SWAT) to manage the HWCs, especially those that posed safety concerns for humans. Human- macaque conflicts are usually dealt through translocation, regulation of its population size or by lethal control if all else fails. Human-crocodile conflicts are addressed through the implementation of the Crocodile Management Plan, creation of awareness to local community living within crocodile zones and culling to reduce its population (especially where there’s a high population of aggressive crocodiles).
Mr. Braken also updated the audience on the recent transfer of saltwater crocodile’s CITES status from Appendix I to II, which now allows the trade of ‘wild caught animals’ subjected to quotas. This meant that communities that are adversely affected by crocodile conflicts can also have economic benefits, through the harvesting of wild crocodiles to manage HWCs and control its population.
However, harvesting is only allowed if consent is given by the affected communities, as this has to take into consideration their beliefs and taboos. It is also noted that the CITES Appendix II status is only applicable for Sarawak (which faced critical human-crocodile conflicts), and not the other states in Malaysia.
In the presentation’s conclusion, SFC stressed upon the importance of a management plan for crocodiles incorporating sustainable use, continued research to obtain a more comprehensive database on the crocodiles and macaques, as well as enhancing the public awareness on how to coexist sustainably with wildlife.
Review by: Michael Ng, Senior Executive, SED
This presentation was presented during “MPOC / SWD Human – Wildlife Conflict Workshop” held on 22 – 23 November 2016 at FourPoints by Sheraton, Sandakan, Sabah. For the complete presentation, please click the link provided.