SIBU: The Sarawak Forestry Corporation seized more than 400 wild animals which included protected species during their operations last week.
Its Chief Executive Officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said a total of 366 animals from 38 species protected under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) were rescued.
“Our team also seized four Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea) and a black hornbill, which are among the total of protected species,” he said.
Other protected species included pheasants, Hill Mynas, owls, Prevost's squirrels, parrots, mousedeer, peacocks, kijang (barking deer), punai (green pigeon) and tortoise.
“All these animals will be sent to the Matang Wildlife Centre and will be kept for monitoring before they are released and returned to the wild,” he said in a statement.
Zolkipli urged pet shop and animal farm operators to apply and obtain permits or licences from the Controller of Wildlife.
Pet shop owners must seek verification on the origin of the animals as keeping protected species can lead to one-year imprisonment and RM10,000 in fine; while keeping totally protected wildlife in Sarawak can lead to a maximum fine of RM50,000 and five years’ jail.
“This is our continuous and long term commitment in addressing illegal wildlife trade and crime to protect and conserve the flora and fauna in Sarawak. This includes to raise awareness among the public that wildlife is best left undisturbed in the wild as part of the forest communities and not as pets,” he added.
For those who have information on wildlife trade, they are encouraged to report through SFC’s hotlines in Kuching (019-8859996,016-8565564), Sibu (019-8190140, 019-8894474), Bintulu (019-8223449, 019-8332737), or Miri (019-8224566, 019-8290994).