Malaysia: Wildlife dept nabs five traffickers in three-state ops

The Star 21 Oct 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Five wildlife traffickers were caught and 32 rare animals, including a tiger cub, bearcat and dwarf caiman, were rescued by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

The nearly 20 species of animal recovered in the operation were worth about RM500,000, among them a leopard cat, mouse-deer, turtle, four baby monkeys, birds and squirrels.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the operation was carried out on Wednesday following checks on sales of wildlife through the Internet and via social media.

He said that among the animals rescued were threatened species.

“Their numbers in the wild are small and they’re almost extinct,” he said at Wisma Sumber Asli here.

“Take the tiger for example, there are only 250 to 300 left while binturong (bearcat) and squirrels are hard to find,” he said.

The operation, dubbed Ops Taring, was carried out in Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor. Two pet shops and three private premises were raided.

Dr Wan Junaidi said Perhilitan will decide what to do with the animals after their DNA was tested.

The five traffickers, believed part of a criminal network smuggling wildlife obtained from communities living near forests, were being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

On the same day as the operation, Perhilitan also arrested an Indian national suspected of smuggling part of an animal, believed to be a tiger.

The man was remanded to help in an investigation into the importing of parts of a protected animal without a permit.

The Government will not hesitate to take stern action against those engaged in such criminal activities, said Dr Wan Junaidi.

He urged the public to be the eyes and ears of Perhilitan, and to inform the department of any illegal activities.

The minister added that Perhilitan had in previous operations caught 59 individuals in total for illegally trapping and keeping wild animals.

Rare animals rescued in three states, five traffickers nabbed
The Star 20 Oct 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Five animal traffickers were put out of business and nearly 20 different species of rare animals, including a tiger cub, a bear cat and a dwarf caiman, rescued in a wildlife operation in three states.

The 32 animals rescued in the operation are worth an estimated half a million ringgit and included birds, turtles and squirrels.

The catch was made by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) during Ops Taring in Kedah, Kelantan, Selangor and KLIA on Wednesday.

The operation was the result of monitoring of the sale of the wildlife online and the raids were carried by 25 Perhilitan enforcers.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Thursday the animals will have their DNA tested to find the most suitable habitat for them.

The next course of action will be decided by Perhilitan.

Caiman, bearcat, tiger cub among animals rescued in nationwide op
AZURA ABAS New Straits Times 20 Oct 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The Wildlife Department rescued 30 endangered and exotic animals, including a tiger cub, in five raids nationwide under Op Taring 4 yesterday.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said five people were arrested during the raids conducted in Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan.

Among the animals seized were a dwarf caiman, an owl, a Mollucan Cockatoo and a bearcat.

"These animals are endangered and they have their own crucial roles in keeping the balance of the ecosystem,” Wan Junaidi told reporters at a press conference to announce the success of Op Taring 4 today.

But he said most of those caught could easily come up with the money to pay fines even as high as the maximum RM500,000.

Wan Junaidi said that a mandatory jail sentence could be an effective deterrent that would make anyone think twice before committing the crime.

"We can consider making it an (offense punishable with a) mandatory jail sentence for those caught with endangered species by amending the relevant laws," "Animals do not like to be caged. I believe the perpetrators will not like (to be jailed) too," he said.

Wan Junaidi said the female tiger cub rescued during a raid at a private residence in Hulu Langat could fetch a handsome price of between RM150,000 and RM200,000.

The authorities also detained a foreigner at KLIA yesterday allegedly trying to smuggle out body parts believed to be from a tiger.

The Wildlife Department had conducted a three month-long surveillance based on information gathered from social media before carrying out the raids.