Malaysia: Don't buy endangered wildlife, says Sabah Wildlife Department

RUBEN SARIO The Star 14 Jan 16;

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Wildlife Department is asking the public to avoid buying captured animals although they may be buying them to turn them over to the authorities.

Department assistant director Dr Senthilvel Nathan said buying the animals would only encourage illegal trade in wildlife.

“Instead, we are asking the public to alert us as quickly as possible about the sale of wildlife,” he said.

Senthivel said the public can contact him at 0128019289, adding that the public should try to get as much information as possible about the dealers – including photos of the dealers in action.

“We need to arrest and prosecute these offenders who threaten our beautiful wildlife,” said Senthivel.

He spoke following the actions of a family on Sunday.

The family had purchased a young male pangolin in Sandakan and handed the pangolin over to the Sabah Wildlife Department.

The pangolin was eventually brought to the Danau Girang Field Centre in the Kinabatangan region.

It was released into the wild on Monday at an event that was witnessed by Dr Melanie Billings-Yun, the wife of US Ambassador to Malaysia Joseph Yun.

“It was heartbreaking to witness the release of this wonderful animal into the wild, said Billings-Yun.

She added that US President Barack Obama had announced his government’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking.

“My husband and I are extremely concerned by the rampant wildlife trade that threatens the biodiversity in South-East Asia,” said Billings-Yun.

She added that she hoped the Sabah state government could win the battle against illegal wildlife traders.

“We have been working very closely with the department, Danau Girang Field Centre and other partners in finding ways to tackle this issue,” said Billings-Yun.

On pangolins, Senthivel said that the department was preparing the relevant documentation to have them listed as a totally protected species.

Perhilitan: We will go all out and nab wildlife smugglers
SIMON KHOO The Star 14 Jan 16;

KUALA LIPIS: The Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) has two words of advice for wildlife smugglers – cease and desist.

In issuing this stern reminder, Perhilitan enforcement division director Hasnan Yusop said his officers had pledged to go all out to track down and nab such offenders.

Hasnan said Perhilitan took a serious view in matters pertaining to capturing, keeping, smuggling and trading in wildlife and protected species.

“We will step up our efforts to put a stop to these illegal activities in line with our duties and responsibilities to safeguard protected species of wildlife.

“This is one of our resolutions for this year and we will not back down or be intimidated,” he told StarMetro.

To mean business, Perhilitan scored its first success this year by crippling a syndicate specialising in smuggling exotic and protected species of birds.

Three syndicate members, believed to be smugglers and wildlife traders, aged between 20 and 50, were detained during the raid at a house in Kampung Tanjung Gahai, Bukit Betong near here.

Eighty-seven magpies hidden in eight makeshift plastic cages were seized by personnel from the Wildlife Crime Unit, in addition to several other birds and fowls.

The magpies were destined to be smuggled to a neighbouring country via Johor in a car when Perhilitan officers ambushed and nabbed the suspects red-handed.

All three will be investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which carries a fine of up to RM100,000 or a jail term up to three years, or both.

Records showed that from 2011 to last year, a total of 4,167 species of magpies were seized from smugglers, involving 179 cases.

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