Animal rights groups are protesting the culling of crocodiles carried out by the Sabah Wildlife Department of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) in early 2024, demanding an immediate end to this cruel practice. Sabah is a state of Malaysia located in the northern portion of Borneo, in the region of East Malaysia.
Animal rights lawyers Rajesh Nagarajan and Sachpreetraj Singh said they found it contradictory that an agency responsible for protecting wild animals was involved in their killing. In a statement, they said “Any crocodile that may endanger human lives should be immediately caught and relocated, as is customary in most countries. Why does Sabah Perhilitan, instead of progressively catching crocodiles on a regular basis, go on an occasional murderous rampage…We demand that the killing of crocodiles be halted immediately and for Sabah Perhilitan to carry out the task they have been entrusted with — to protect wildlife and not take the easy way out by killing these poor animals.”
According to The Star, Sabah had begun crocodile culling to mitigate the threat of attacks. The culling began in Papar on 25th January and concluded on 27th January, and during this time 32 crocodiles were killed, 19 in Sungai Kawang, 12 in Sungai Kinarut, and one in Sungai Papar.
The wildlife department said no meat or by-products from the culled reptiles will be sold or exported and the bodies of the crocodiles will be buried or otherwise disposed of. The reason is not an ethical objection to commercialising the bodies but the lack of infrastructure and the excess of bureaucracy to do so. The department said it will continue the culling in phases across Sabah, despite the protests from wildlife protection organisations.