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LAHAD DATU: Two plantation workers are the first to be jailed under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment for causing the death of a 15-year-old male orang utan here last month.

Two Filipino nationals – Armil Gundil and Arcamsar Amil – were sentenced to two years' jail by Tungku Sessions Court judge M. Rajalinggam after they pleaded guilty to hunting and causing grievous hurt to animals under Section 25(3a) and 37 of the Sabah Wildlife Enactment 1997.

Sabah Wildlife Department's prosecuting officer Karim Dakog had told the court that the two men informed wildlife rangers that they wanted to take revenge on the orangutans for disturbing their plants.

However, eyewitnesses said the two men had wanted to eat the orang utan.

Karim told the court that the men had used a parang to slash the orang utan before tying it up with a nylon string at Felda Sahabat 3 on Jan 29 this year.

Meanwhile, Wildlife Department assistant director and veterinarian Dr Sen Nathan said the post-mortem showed the orang utan had died due to severe injuries.

"We confirmed that the injuries were caused by a parang. In fact, one of the slash wounds nearly severed the right thumb of the orangutan", he said.

"There were also a lot of bruises on the body indicating that the animal was probably badly beaten. There was also a very severe hemorrhage in the brain", Sen said.

Sabah Wildlife Department director Datuk Laurentius Ambu said the court decision proved that Sabah was firm in its efforts to conserve wildlife.

"I would like to dispel all views and accusations by many overseas NGOs that Sabah does not prosecute wildlife offenders," Ambu said.