Malaysia: Lizard, python found in wildlife raid

New Straits Times 4 Aug 13;

KUCHING: The carcass of a monitor lizard, a live python, a soft-shelled turtle and 5.5kg of python meat were among exotic items seized in an illegal wildlife trade crackdown.

The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and the police carried out two raids recently in in Serian and Balai Ringin here.

SFC managing director Datuk Ali Yusop said exotic meat was always in demand in the state.

"We want to control this craving for exotic meat, which endangers the population of our totally protected and protected animals.

"These animals are needed to preserve the balance in our ecosystem," said Ali, who is also the state's wildlife controller.

Animals in the state are categorised as totally protected or protected, depending on their numbers in the wild.

Those found guilty of violating the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 face a maximum RM50,000 fine and five years jail.

All seized animals were taken to the Matang Wildlife Centre, where they will be sent for rehabilitation before being released to their habitats.

Ali said: "There are many people who are involved in the wildlife trade.

"We do not condone wildlife violations, and action will be taken against anyone involved in the illegal wildlife trade or who violate the law."

The raid was part of SFC's operations to weed out illegal wildlife trading.

Most of the illegal traders operate from makeshift stalls, which makes it easier for them to flee when raids are conducted.