KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is standing firm on its conservation efforts of protecting wildlife from any threats, including being served as exotic meals.
Assistant State Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Assafal Alian said the ministry had received information of such demands on wildlife made by tourists.
“We have heard such incidents happening whereby they had requested for those ‘bizarre’ delicacies.
“But our stance is firm, if there are demands or vendors that are doing it (catering exotic meals), we will take action against them,” he said during a recent International Symposium on Sun Bears, here.
Assafal added that tourists have to be informed about Sabah’s initiatives in protecting wildlife and tour operators have to spell out relevant laws for their clients.
Sabah Tourist Association chairman Tony Chew said exotic meats were usually served when tourists were being handled by illegal tour operators or via their personal contacts.
“Most of the time pangolin meat would be on top of the list, followed by turtle, flying fox and crocodile.”
Meanwhile, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te said although the number of those involved in poaching were small, the impact was significant.
“The Chinese (people) have high purchasing power and are willing to pay a lot of money.
“But there are people who are very poor. Although they know it is illegal (to poach endangered species) but they are desperate. It is a global issue,” he said, adding that the threat has placed many endangered species on the brink of extinction.