Malaysia: Attempt to smuggle protected birds foiled

Desiree Tresa Gasper The Star 20 Jan 13;

JOHOR BARU: Maritime enforcers thwarted an attempt to smuggle 10 endangered cockatoos into the country and arrested a 50-year-old Indonesian at Kota Tinggi, more than 40km from here.

The man, a permanent resident, is believed to have been paid by a third party to transport the birds from Kalimantan to Pasir Gudang, near here, said Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Tanjung Sedili enforcement chief Capt Rozali Mohd Said.

“We intercepted his boat as it was entering our waters,” he said, adding that the man tried to speed off when the officers approached his vessel.

He said the maritime enforcers stopped the boat about four nautical miles off Tanjung Stapa in Pengerang at around 11.45am yesterday.

“We found the birds hidden in two cages wrapped in a sack,” Capt Rozali said.

He added that the birds, believed to be palm cockatoos and yellow crested cockatoos, were protected species and could be sold for between RM2,000 and RM5,000 each on the black market.

“We believe the man was on his way to Pasir Gudang to sell the birds,” said Capt Rozali, adding that it was the Indonesian's second attempt at animal smuggling.

The birds have been handed over to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.