Perhilitan detains five for illegal wildlife possession estimated at RM50,000

Zarina Abdullah

HULU TERENGGANU: Five individuals have been arrested by the State Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) for possessing protected wildlife at two different houses in Jabi, Besut, last Friday.

Its director Rahmah Elias said following a tip-off from the public, the team managed to seized various animals kept in cages from two different houses at the village.

She said the statements from all five suspects were recorded at the police station. The five have since been released on police bail.

During the operation on April 14, Perhilitan enforcement officers with back-up from the army managed to seize more than RM50,000 worth of protected wildlife.

Rahmah said in the first raid, four Indonesian men aged between 23 and 31, were taken to the Kampung Raja police station and detained to assist with investigation.

She said among the wildlife seized the first house were eight white-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus), an orange-headed thrush (Geokichla citrina), a black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), a black-naped oriole (Oriolus chinensis) and two jungle fowls (Gallus gallus).

"Two of the suspects tried to escape the raiding team but failed in their attempt as the house was surrounded by our men," she told reporters at the Kuala Berang Perhilitan office today.

Rahmah said the team then checked another house and a 36-year-old man was detained for the illegal possession of protected animals on the same day.

She said the excavator driver was found to be possession of 10 Malayan porcupines, a civet, an otter, a Burmese python and three tortoises.

The cases are being investigated under Section 60(1)(a) of the Wildlife Protection Act 2010 (716 Act) for possessing protected wildlife without licence.

If convicted, the suspects could face up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of not more than RM50,000 or both.

The suspects are also being probe under Section 68(1)(a) of the same Act for possessing totally protected wildlife without permit, and if convicted, they could face up to three years imprisonment and a fine of not more than RM100,000 or both.

"The totally protected wildlife are the white-rumped Shama and black-winged kite," Rahmah clarified.