30 en­dan­gered, ex­otic an­i­mals saved

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

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.

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