Proof missing at Miri farm

The Star
April 12, 2008
Proof missing at Miri farm

MIRI: The private farm in Miri, where a sun bear died after prolonged incarceration in a small cage, appears to have destroyed all evidence that it had illegally kept endangered animals.
It is also learnt that the huge farm at Jalan Bakam along the Miri-Bintulu Second Coastal Highway had more than one sun bear, and many monkeys, gibbons and wild goats.
But when enforcement officers from the Sarawak Asset Protection Unit (Sapu) went to the farm yesterday, they found they were six months too late in acting on the many complaints filed by expatriates against cruelty to the sun bear.
These complaints, filed since August, had been forwarded in oral and written form to the Miri Wildlife Department, Sarawak Forestry and the Miri City Council.
The officers saw some torn-down shacks that could have housed some of these animals but no trace of the bears were found in the 162ha farm that encompassed forests and a hill.
Sapu enforcement chief for Miri Division, Rudolf Gerang, admitted that yesterday’s operation drew a complete blank.
“The place is huge. We had a look around but cannot find any animal. The workers said they do not know anything. We are now trying to find out who is directly in charge of this place,” he said.
Sapu is a unit under the direct supervision of Sarawak Forestry. So is the Wildlife Department.
He had no satisfactory answer as to why the sun bear had not been rescued, except to say that investigations have been re-opened.
While these enforcement officers scratch their heads, The Star received new e-mails yesterday from visitors to the farm who said they saw at least two caged sun bears and that both were now gone.
Another visitor said he was disturbed to find endangered creatures kept in tiny cages in a farm with so much forest and land.
“It was sheer cruelty,” he said.
Readers have also expressed disgust and vowed to never visit the farm again.


No comments: