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The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) has once again betrayed NGOs and wild animals.

A year ago almost to the day, in response to scathing criticism of the Sandakan Crocodile farm, then-director of SWD Dr Laurentius Ambu, “...issued the order on Friday (July 11, 2014), said the farm would remain closed until further notice following an outcry by animal activists.”

Not only was the farm not closed, nothing has changed. It was in July of 2014 a place of appalling cruelty and it remains today, one year later, a place of appalling cruelty. It’s actually worse now.

Jennifer Yeap from Malaysian Friends of the Animals said, “We are very disappointed with the Sabah Wildlife Department. It’s bad enough that management permit this place to remain open. It’s even worse they mislead us and the public at large, though that’s nothing new.”

Conservationists visiting the farm last weekend found otters kept in conditions that are a blatant breach of the law. Ostrich with no feathers. Monkeys in terrible cages. All are a breach of the Wildlife Conservation act 2010. What are these animals doing at a crocodile farm? To feed to the crocodiles?

The crocodile show is also exploitive and cruel. Worse than a circus act. What do these shows tell tourists about Sabah?

Sean Whyte of Nature Alert added, “Based on previous experience of deceit and lack of concern from the Sabah Wildlife Department, we can’t say we are surprised at the continued cruelty. Blame for this despicable, cruel farm‘s existence must be placed firmly on the laps of SWD director William Baya and Minister Masidi Manjun. We expect to see this place closed this week and the animals confiscated. No excuses.”

In contrast to Sarawak, in Sabah there is a complete lack of leadership and moral integrity when it comes to protecting wildlife and the environment. We hear lots of talk from those in power but we see no action.

SEAN WHYTE is the chief executive of Nature Alert, and JENNIFER YEAP is with Malaysian Friends of the Animals.