Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Light Encounter With A Poacher

It was a Saturday. Weekend for all. A picnic time for local folks in the park and as for myself, it was just another day on the forest trail. 

Walking quietly on the trail while listening for any new bird calls, my smell sense was rudely triggered with the smell of cigarette. My alert senses increased and immediately it send out a message, "Intruder"...beep beep beep 

My alert senses was correct. A "sinister" was lurking around the corner of a connecting trail. He was wearing a long sleeve yellow shirt, bearing a company name of "Lafarge". On the note, Lafarge is a cement company on Langkawi which is harvesting the limestone area in Teluk Ewa and now this company is threatening Gua Pinang in Kubang Badak.

Our eyes met. I was neither smiling nor frowning. My expression was expressionless and I thought I was. I continued to stare directly into his eyes. At an angle of my sight, I noticed him holding a parang (machete). And so was I. Should a few steps from him towards me, I am ready for his head with my blunt parang as I thought to myself.

What's next?

I stepped forward instead, closer to him. We didn't speak until I thought he mumbled something. And so I break the ice by asking him in Malay, "Are you chopping down the tree?"
He replied, "Eh...no la". 
"And then, what are you doing?", I asked again.
"Catching birds", he answered. 
He returned a question to me, "What are you doing here?" 
"I am catching those who are catching birds", I said in return. 
"Eh eh", he said.
"What bird are you catching?". I noticed there were calls of Asian Fairy Bluebird around and no bird cages with him but he was holding a very small tied-up sack and plastic bag. I have never seen locals catching Asian Fairy Bluebirds and the variety of birds they would go for would be bulbuls and Oriental Magpie robins.

He replied, "Dunno. My friend is coming soon. Are you alone?"
"Nope. My friends are behind." I lied. 
I continued, "You cannot catch birds here. Is wrong."

And so, I walked away. After less than 100 meters away from him, I picked up my mobile phone and started to call the Perhilitan (Wildlife Department) officers. I called two numbers of the Perhilitan which I usually liaised with. And I was unable to connect to both of them at all. As if their phones were switched off and so I contacted one of their top officers instead.

After informing the situation to this officer, he told me that there is nothing they can do. 

Eh? Why?

The area where I was is under the State government and so most of Langkawi. And Perhilitan is under the Federal government. Which means that the officers are not able to go into the area to chase the poachers out unless these poachers were caught in possession of protected wildlife. 

"If that's the case, there is no protection to our wildlife here then?" I asked.

"Unless the State government placed personnel to monitor the parks and the rainforest. But unfortunately, they have no funds to hire rangers to look after. Because most areas in Langkawi are not under the Federal government, our Perhilitan rangers will not be placed in those areas.", the officer explained.

"If that's the reason, what's the point of having the Perhilitan department on Langkawi then? I mean Perhilitan has done some good jobs in nabbing poachers in Langkawi but if they don't have full authority over what needs to be done to protect the wildlife here, then what's the point?" 

And then he went on about people not putting wildlife protection in the election manifesto and so the politicians of both parties will not bother as an issue to be addressed. 

Sounds like I have heard of this sort of story before and I am so fed up of all this political issues governing the welfare of our wildlife.


  1. Yeah..... we need a Wildlife Commission and we need a Commission for Conservation to be set up in Langkawi to ensure the protection and conservation of the forests and all its animals and wildlife.

    1. Hi M,
      hmm... shall wait and see after GE13.

      I doubt a commission as such will happen. Conservation is not effective anywhere in malaysia as long as politicians here have self interest. The businessmen and conservationist-aka-businessmen alike will look after these politicians that govern their self-interest.

      It is only left to a few individuals who have courage to stand against all odds. And these individuals are the watch dogs for malaysia's future on natural heritage and her environment. And one of them is Wong Tack, the leader fighting against Lynas!

  2. Hello Dreamer! What I read here stunned me! Thanks for this. I agree with you, we have only a handful of people willing to be politically incorrect. Please could contact me at this email fotorangutans@gmail.com I run a orangutan NGO. Thank you! - Upresh -


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