KUCHING: The local community should be allowed to venture into the crocodile skin and meat industry as one of the approaches to control the reptile population in Sarawak, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The de facto Minister of Justice, however, said this must be done under the supervision and guidance of the authorities, so that the community can participate in the industry which brings in billions of ringgits in profits worldwide.
“Is there legislation and a system related to the control of crocodiles allowing their trade by local residents to provide returns to the local community as required by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) wild animals threatened with extinction)?,” he asked in a statement on Friday, May 27.
He was responding to the two recent crocodile attacks involving a five-year-old boy in Kampung Nyabut, Telaga Air, Kuching on Saturday May 21 and a 56-year-old man in Sungai Ahong, Kampung Kangka, Lundu last Thursday. (May 19).
Wan Junaidi, who previously served as Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said he had successfully removed Sarawak from CITES Appendix 1-2 at a conference in Johannesburg, Africa du Sud, in 2016, following concerns about overpopulation of crocodiles in the state. .
Wan Junaidi, who is also an MP for Santubong, added that with Sarawak in schedule two, authorities can catch and kill crocodiles periodically and systematically to reduce their numbers without causing extinction.
Although listed in Schedule 2, he said the reptile population was still out of control until attacks occurred not only in rural areas but also in urban areas.
“With a large number of crocodiles, it is certain that as long as there are drainage systems, rivers and estuaries, there will be crocodiles preying on them,” he explained.
Following this, he urged the relevant government agencies to implement proactive and holistic measures so that the attacks do not happen again.
“I want the authorities to take appropriate action to ensure that the reptile does not disrupt the lives of people in Sarawak,” he said.
Wan Junaidi also expressed his sympathy to the families of the two victims. – Bernama