Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disturbing news from Kuala Baram Lagoon

Grey Plover.

Happy New Year! More birds! More birds!

It wasn't an ideal start for some of us! We were alerted by reports of poaching of waders at two of our favorite wader locations: Kuala Baram Lagoon (feeding and roosting area) and Kampong Masjid (roosting area at the marshes).

Report 1, 02nd Jan Kuala Baram Lagoon:

"My wife and I took to stroll along the Kuala Baram road leading to the Crocodile Farm. For what ever reason she want to go in to where Miri birders usuallu go to watch waders.

When we reach the spot we saw two couples sitting on a rock. As I was scanning the area with my bino, I noticed some 300 waders circling around making a squeaking sound. Then I noticed unidentified two persons collecting the waders caught in a net that they had put down on the sand bar.

The net was around 100m long and approximately 2m wide as they were putting it up again after collecting. I noticed they had a plastic gunny sack seemed to be filled with the newly caught victims, the waders.

When they put up the net again, 3 groups of waders estimated in the hundreds were flying away south. The time the birds missed the trap set up for them. There were 3 men doing this on the sandbar that day. They were all waiting at the northern end of the beach. They were most likely waiting for the waders to return to the small sand bar and shoo them to the south were the net was set up."

Report 2, 01st Jan Kampong Masjid:

"While driving to Kpg Masjid in Kuala Baram towards the Sarawak Riverboard jetty I noticed a green mist (6x12 feet, 4 feet above grown) net set up along the road. The location of the the nets are about 5min past the Sg Tujuh roundabout after the toll going towards Kpg Masjid.

Perpetrators were unknown, looked certain that the way the nets were set up that it was meant for low flying birds or waterbirds heading to what little was left of the peatswamp."

Not a good start to the year especially for our waders.

We took measures on our hands by visiting the likely suspects the next day in Kuala Baram Lagoon and informing them briefly about our activities on the mudflats as well as the implications of the Sarawak Wildlife Ordinance 1998.

The waders are fully protected under this ordinance, stiff penalties await those caught trapping the birds, using of mist nets as well as selling of the mistnets without permits. The villagers can ill afford to go foul of the law. For those found guilty under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance, the maximum penalty that awaits them are three years’ jail with a fine of RM50,000, or both.

We have also alerted the correct authorities who quickly jumped into action the very next day. They came back empty handed, most likely the perpetrators had already gone by the time the enforcement people were on the ground.

We will be keeping a close vigilance over the area since this is the first time that we have noticed this incident in Kuala Baram.

MNS Miri Branch members have been watching waders in this area since 1998 and have not seen cases of trapping of waders by anyone. We have never come across mist nets in this area before this as well.

We alerted the correct authorities who we are happy to note quickly jumped into action the next day. They came back empty handed, most likely the perpetrators had already gone by the time the enforcement people were on the ground.

We have offered to further collaborate with the authorities concerned to address this issue either through enforcement (regular monitoring and reporting) and in situ community outreach to inform the public about the value of these birds as well as the rules and regulations pertaining to the protection of shorebirds.

Early morning vista from the edge of the lagoon, several kampong houses are located just after the breakers.

Birder's eye view of the mudflats at low tide.

Great Knot.

Pacific Golden Plover.

Eurasian Curlew.

Great Egret.

Little Egret.

Collared Kingfisher.

Little-ringed Plover.

The Security and Asset Protection Unit of Sarawak Forestry Corporation runs a Helpline (Tel : (+6) 082 302 606 or (+6) 019-889 7222) so that members of public can provide information on any offences committed under the Wildlife Ordinance 1998.

Or call any of the following 24hr hotline:
Kuching : 019-889 7222
Miri: 019-829 0996
Bintulu: 019-815 9962
Sibu: 019-829 0993

Article and images by Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/Jan 2011

1 comment:

  1. Good for you to go after the culprits.....keep at it!