Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—Over 7,000 live Clouded Monitor Lizards and almost 900 dead owls plus other protected wildlife species have been seized in two raids in Peninsular Malaysia.
On 4 November, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) staff raided a house in Muar, in the state of Johor, and found in a freezer and storage room 796 Barn, 95 Spotted Wood, 14 Buffy Fish, 8 Barred Eagle and 4 Brown Wood Owls, 2 Crested Serpent Eagles, 51 live Clouded Monitor Lizards, 4 live juvenile Wild Pigs, plus parts of one or more Wild Pig, Malayan Porcupine, Reticulated Python, Malayan Pangolin, Sun Bear and Greater Mouse Deer.
A local man was arrested and remanded in custody for three days, but pleaded not guilty and was released on bail of MYR19,000 (USD5,300).
Information obtained during the raid led to a second raid on a storage facility in Segamat, Johor, on 7 November 2008, when 7,093 live Clouded Monitor Lizards were seized, but no arrests made.
“The number of owls and monitor lizards seized is truly staggering,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer for TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia office.
“This is the first time we know of where ‘ready-prepared’ owls have been seized in Malaysia, and it may mark the start of a new trend in wild meat from the region. We will be monitoring developments closely.”
All the animals seized are believed to have originated in Malaysia and were probably bound for China, to be sold in wild meat restaurants.
All are protected to some degree under Malaysian national legislation, and most are listed in CITES (the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), with Clouded Monitor Lizard and Sun Bear in Appendix I, which prohibits international trade, whilst most other species, including all the owls, listed in Appendix II, which restricts such trade.
“Malaysia is home to a vast array of amazing wildlife,” said Shepherd. “However, illegal hunting and trade poses a threat to Malaysia’s natural diversity.
“TRAFFIC applauds the actions taken by Perhilitan, and urges the public to report cases of illegal hunting and trade to the authorities.
“TRAFFIC also encourages countries where these cargoes are bound to be vigilant to prevent the illegal import of wildlife from Malaysia and elsewhere.”
Malaysia is a member of the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), a partnership that seeks to end illegal cross-border wildlife trade in the region.
For further information:
Chris R. Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer for TRAFFIC Southeast Asia (in Malaysia) tel: +603 78803940, cell: +6 012 234 0790, E-mail: [email protected]
Richard Thomas, Communications Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC. Tel: +44 1223 279068, mob + 44 752 6646 216. E-mail [email protected]
I am really sick of it! This kind of killing really need to, and has to, come to an end!
Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia where hunting for food has been part of the culture mostly due to prolong poverty, majority Malaysians, excepts tribal people in Sarawak, have no hunting background or culture. With the economical and political stability, Malaysia in fact is a last stronghold for Southeast Asia wildlife. This kind of killing of wildlife done by a very small group of people for profits is totally unnecessary and should be control with all resources that we have. If we cannot protect wildlife in Malaysia, there are little hope for the wildlife in Southeast Asia.
Please read my earlier post on how can you help us to protect wildlife in Malaysia http://sunbears.wildlifedirect.org/2008/10/25/we-need-your-help-to-protect-wildlife-in-malaysia/