KOTA KINABALU: The police will set up a special Wildlife Crime Bureau (WCB), says Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

He said the bureau will be set up in Bukit Aman under the purview of the Internal Security and Public Order Department.

“The WCB will provide a more effective impact in the war against wildlife crimes like poaching and the illegal wildlife trade,” he said after attending Ops Bersepadu Khazanah here yesterday.

Acryl Sani said the creation of the bureau will enable investigations related to offences against wildlife and nature to be coordinated and supervised properly from Bukit Aman.

He added that the police were in the process of identifying the officers and personnel to be part of the bureau.

“We will establish the WCB as soon as possible (after the recruitment of personnel).

“Although the bureau would be in Bukit Aman, it will also cover Sabah and Sarawak,” he said, adding that the WCB will investigate illegal hunting and trade of exotic wildlife and protected flora, among others.

He also said Ops Bersepadu Khazanah, which was launched on Sept 3, 2019, has been successful in preserving the country’s flora and fauna.

Agencies involved included the police, Customs Department and the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

The team has handled 60 cases between January and July this year, representing a 100% jump from the 30 cases in the same period last year, he added.

Acryl Sani said 97 people were arrested this year compared with 29 people between January and July in 2021. Items worth over RM3.8mil have been seized so far this year compared with RM537,490 between January and July last year.

“The police are committed to working with other government agencies through Ops Bersepadu Khazanah, which directly supports the Sustainable Development Goals in the protection and conservation of the country’s natural heritage,” he added.