Animal cruelty: Forestry officer’s action stuns SSPCA chairperson

A file photo of the mother and baby macaques that were kept in a cage at Taman Tunku, Miri.

KUCHING, Feb 1: Someone in Miri spotted a mother and baby macaques being raised in captivity and in harsh conditions in a house at Taman Tunku, next to Servay Jaya Supermarket, in Miri.

To Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) chairperson Rebecca D’Cruz, the solution is simple — just alert the forestry boys and they will know what to do.

But for this particular case, D’Cruz was wrong, very wrong.

After a report was lodged, an enforcement team down went to check, and this is what a senior Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) officer basically said to the owners — we neither have a cage nor transport. So, we will issue you a licence to keep the macaques!

In a text message today, a fuming D’Cruz narrated: “The enforcement team went (to check) but said no transport or cage to take away the macaques. A Miri forestry officer said he handed over the case to another officer. The officer then said he is considering issuing a licence to the owners to keep the macaques.”

She emphasised that wild animals should not be allowed to be kept as pets in the first place, and what was even worse was the cruel conditions the monkeys were kept.

“The owners should be prosecuted and penalised, not offered a licence,” she exclaimed.

“If they are allowed to have a licence to keep the macaques, then every house in Miri will be able to pay to keep exotic animals as pets or even buy them from trappers. There will be no end to illegal wildlife trading.”

D’Cruz stressed that the only option was for SFC and the Forest Department to confiscate the macaques and release them into the wild or send them to the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary.

“In fact, yesterday, the owners allowed the officers to take the macaques away, but the officers told me they have no transport and cage. How can that be! That makes the Miri enforcement unit totally toothless,” she concluded. — DayakDaily