GOF seize 30 illegally kept Oriental magpie-robins

Frediel (right) with an officer showing the seized magpie-robins.

By Wendy John

SIBU, Feb 1: The 10th Battalion General Operation Force (GOF) rescued 30 wild Oriental magpie-robins which otherwise would have been sold in Indonesia.

Deputy commander DSP Frediel Nyambong said today that an Indonesian had been arrested to assist in investigations after he was found without permits for
having these protected birds in his possession.

He said that Ops Khazanah was conducted at 4.05pm on Friday (Jan 31) by a team of enforcement officers from the battalion on a house in a vegetable farm in KM2 Jalan Tuah, Off Jalan Nibong in Kanowit. It had been suspected that there were magpie-robins being kept there without permits.

“During the inspection, the team found there were 30 wild magpie-robins on the farm. An Indonesian man, 45, who admitted that he owned the birds was subsequently detained,” he added.

Frediel said the modus operandi of the suspect was to catch the birds and keep them before smuggling them out to Indonesia to sell them to buyers.

“Bird lovers are interested in these birds as they produce melodious sounds which they can use to contest in bird singing competitions,” he said.

The suspect, he said had been referred to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) for investigation under Section 29 of the Sarawak Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998.

The offence provides for a fine of RM10,000 and imprisonment of up to one year if convicted.

Commenting on the case, he said it was not wrong for one to keep them provided they had a valid permit.

“Those who want to rear them including other wild animals must get a permit first. Before the permit is issued by the authorities concerned, the applicant must make sure he knows how to keep them by feeding them with the right food,” he said.

However, he issued a warning against hunting endangered and protected wildlife.

“I hope locals will not be involved in the hunting of endangered and protected wildlife as it will be a big loss to the future generation. We should instead help to protect and conserve our flora and fauna,” he said.

In a separate incident, he said the battalion had also seized a monkey and a hedgehog from a house in Tanjung Kunyit here on January 23.

A 48-year-old man had been arrested for not having a permit for keeping the two wildlife. —DayakDaily

Three of the magpie-robins in a cage rescued by GOF.