30 endangered, exotic animals saved
PUTRAJAYA: Five nationwide raids under Ops Taring 4 on Wednesday by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks saw 30 endangered and exotic animals being rescued.
Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the seized animals included a dwarf caiman, an owl, a Molucan cockatoo and a bearcat.
The raid, which was conducted in Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan, led to the arrest of five people.
"Despite the arrests, most of those caught will eventually come up with the money and pay fines of up to the maximum of RM500,000," he said.
As such, Wan Junaidi said the ministry will consider making it an offence punishable with a mandatory jail sentence instead of fines for those caught with endangered species.
"Animals do not like to be caged. I believe the perpetrators will not like (a similar fate) too."
Wan Junaidi said a female tiger cub, which was rescued during a raid at a private residence in Hulu Langat, was worth between RM150,000 and RM200,000 on the black market.
He added the authorities also detained a foreigner at the KL International Airport on Wednesday for allegedly trying to smuggle out suspected tiger parts. The raids were carried out following a three-month surveillance and intelligence gathering by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.