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Nov 15, 2000

Police confiscates illegal game meat

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During a surprise inspection on Tuesday, police confiscated over one hundred and forty pounds of illegal game meat at Joseph Wong Store. Officials from the Forest Department, accompanied by a police officer, found one hundred and seven pounds of gibnut and armadillo, twenty-nine and a half pounds of deer, and five and a half pounds of peccary inside the store’s deep freezer. While Wong is still able to earn a living from his shop, many villagers depend on catching wildlife for their livelihood and may not be able to come up with the money to pay for a game licence. Today we spoke to John Pinelo Junior, a protected areas officer in the Forest Department.

John Pinelo, Jr. Protected Areas Officer, Forest Department

“We had a report from someone that Mr. Wong is selling game meat. He had a substantial amount of game meat in his store. So we went to him to see if it’s true. We know we had not given any dealers licence to anybody yet, so he definitely did not have a licence. When we checked him, he agreed he didn’t have a licence, so we confiscated the meat from him. It was about one hundred and fifty seven pounds of game meat. We had the choice to press charges, but we did not. We gave him a warning this time and If just sells it again without a permit, we will have to take him to court.”

Jose Sanchez

“A lot of people in the villages depend on game meat for their livelihood. How does this sort of incident affect them?”

John Pinelo Jr.

“There are two situations. There are some who depend on it to put something in their pot to eat and that’s okay. We have a provisional game licence, which allows them to hunt legally for their pot, subsistence use. The other situation is the people who make it a business, and who hunt to sell so they can make money, which is not a good situation for us. They start killing a lot of wildlife and it’s not sustainable. And the people who would usually go and hunt for their pot, would go out and they can’t catch any gibnut. It gets rare because we have people who take in fifteen to twenty gibnuts a week. It’s taking away from the ones who really depend on it to survive, and that’s the situation we don’t want. We have another licence, which is a dealer’s licence, and that is two thousand dollars for a dealers licence. The provisional games licence is ten dollars. So as you can see the ten dollars is really cheap, and it accommodates the people who can’t afford two thousand dollars to sell meat.”

Pinelo says obtaining a provisional game licence requires ten dollars and a gun licence. The Forest Department will then issue a one year permit stating which animals are allowed to be hunted.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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