Malaysia: Birds smuggled on express bus

MOHD FARHAAN SHAH The Star 16 Mar 17;

JOHOR BARU: An international wildlife smuggling syndicate has been using express buses to transport endangered animals to neighbouring countries.

This new modus operandi was uncovered by the Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) after it seized 247 protected white-rumped shama birds, known as burung murai batu and worth about RM200,000, in an express bus near the Kulai rest area.

Johor Perhilitan director Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim said this is the newest tactic used by poachers to smuggle endangered species out of the country.

“We received information about the smuggling activity and launched an operation to rescue the birds,” he said in a press conference here.

Jamalun Nasir added Perhilitan enforcement officers found the express bus parked at the Kulai rest area at KM32.8 along the North-South Expressway at around 6.10am on Tuesday.

He added a Proton Wira car was parked beside the bus that was heading south from Ipoh, Perak.

“Three men were in the midst of transferring 17 cages filled with the birds from the baggage compartment in the bus into the car.

“The two Indonesians and the local bus driver, all in their 40s, were detained,” he said, adding there were 13 passengers inside the bus at the time.

Jamalun Nasir said the suspects were believed to be part of a syndicate that had been active for more than two years.

He added that the department has identified the mastermind behind the group and said in previous cases, Perhilitan managed to stop smuggling activities at ferry terminals here and in Pasir Gudang.

“We will also be working closely with other enforcement agencies including the Land Public Transport Authority (SPAD) to stop the smuggling of endangered animals.

“The department rescued 247 birds including females and hatchlings,” he said, adding the birds were caught in Ipoh.

Jamalun Nasir added the birds could fetch between RM300 and RM1,500 each in the black market.

He added that Perhilitan had seized the bus and car while the three suspects are being remanded to assist in investigations under Section 60 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716).

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