KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Armed Forces veterans and Orang Asli were among 800 people appointed yesterday as Wildlife Rangers under the Biodiversity Protection and Patrolling Programme (BP3).

Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Datuk Ali Biju (pix) said those who received the letters of appointment were 224 Malaysian Armed Forces veterans (VET), 439 Orang Asli (OA), 112 civilians, 15 veterans of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and 10 retirees of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan).

“It is hoped that the appointment of Wildlife Rangers under the BP3 Programme will reduce poaching and encroachment in wildlife habitat areas,“ he said in a statement.

BP3 is a wildlife crime prevention programme which was officially started on June 29, 2020 under Perhilitan, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA).

It involves areas in the Titiwangsa Range, Pahang National Park, Kelantan National Park, Terengganu National Park, Penang National Park, Royal Belum State Park, Endau Rompin National Park, and Krau and Sungkai Wildlife Reserve (RHL).

Ali said VET and OA expertise had increased the effectiveness of detecting cases in hotspot areas of intrusion, poaching and illegal logging, including snare clearance operations.

He said the involvement of VETs and OAs could also foster a sense of responsibility to protect the country’s treasures and improve the well-being of their communities.

Ali said the BP3 programme also involved the Peninsular Malaysia Forestry Department (JPSM), PDRM, other enforcement agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

He said among the NGOs involved were the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) comprising the Southeast Asia Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), WWF-Malaysia, Nature Lovers Association, Alam Malaysia Conservation Organisation and the Malaysian Forest Researchers Association.

Ali said the programme was a continuation of Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah (OBK) which was launched on Sept 3, 2019, and the latest strategy in increasing enforcement patrols to address the issue of encroachment, poaching and illegal logging.