By Dr. Oswald Braken Tisen (Sarawak Forestry Corporation)
Sarawak has a land area of 12.4 million ha, of which an estimated 65% of the land is still occupied by forest. Under the Sarawak Sustainable Land Use Policy, the Sarawak Government has set aside 6 million hectares of production forest as Permanent ForestEstate (PFE) for sustainable timber production and another 1 million hectares as Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) comprising national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves. Four million hectares have been designated for agriculture, of which 3 million hectares is for the cultivation of oil palms.Sarawak is also committed to conserve its natural resources through habitat protection, species management and protection. Some of the initiatives to conserve its wildlife include control of hunting, ban on non-protected wildlife trade, and conservation projects for its hornbill, sea turtles, corals, seagrasses, orang utan, the Heart of Borneo initiatives, as well as the Research for Intensified Management in Bio-rich Area of Sarawak (RIMBA).
On the issue of human-wildlife conflict, most cases arise from conflict with saltwater crocodiles and long-tailed macaques, with a total number of 110 and 56 cases respectively throughout the 2013-2015 period. Out of the 110 cases of human-crocodile conflict, 15 of them resulted in human death while 13 with severe injuries or permanent disabilities. Mitigation measures discussed including lethal control,translocation and neutering of alpha males for the macaques and implementation of removal zones, culling, community awareness programs as well as management plan for the crocodiles. In addition to these measures, the state government has established the Swift Wildlife Action Team (SWAT) to take immediate action on conflicts especially those involving fatalities.
This paper was presented at the “Biodiversity Forum 2016″, with the theme “Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation and Action in the Agricultural Sector” jointly organized by Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) with Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Peninsular Malaysia (PERHILITAN) in Awana Genting Resort on 23rd – 24th May 2016.
Wildlife Conservation vs Conflict in Sarawak
Reviewed by : Anna Norliza Zulkifli