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SIBU, Aug 21: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) officials have rescued over 400 endangered animals from pet shops including an illegal farm during surprise inspections carried out over the last week.
In a press release yesterday (Aug 21), SFC chief executive officer (CEO) Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said the operations were part of a crackdown on pet shops illegally keeping wild animals as pet and putting them up for sale.
The enforcement team rescued about 366 animals, representing 38 species, which were listed under the Convention of International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES).
Also rescued were five species of protected animals – one pheasant, three Hill Myna, two owls, four Prevost squirrels and eight parrots; two species of totally protected animals – four Pergam and one black Hornbill; as well as 28 wildlife – one mousedeer, 11 peacocks, two kijangs, 12 Punai and one tortoise.
“All these animals will be sent to Matang Wildlife Centre for keeping before releasing to the wild,” Zolkipli added.
He strongly advised all pet shops and animal farm operators to apply and obtain permits or licences from the Controller of Wildlife.
“Pet shops should seek verification on the origin of the animals as keeping protected species can lead to one-year imprisonment and fine of RM10,000; while keeping totally protected wildlife in Sarawak can lead to a maximum fine RM50,000 and five years jail,” he warned.
“This is our continuous and long term commitment in addressing illegal wildlife trade and crime to safeguard the flora and fauna in Sarawak,” he emphasised.
The efforts, Zolkipli pointed out, include raising greater awareness and realisation in the minds of the public at large that wild animals are best left undisturbed in the wild as part of the forest communities and not as pet.
Members of the public are encouraged to join SFC’s wildlife conservation effort through orangutan, hornbill or sea-turtle adoption programme.
Those who have information on wildlife trade are urged to alert and report through SFC hotlines in Kuching (019-8859996, 016-8565564), Sibu (019-8190140, 019-8894474), Bintulu (019-8223449, 019-8332737), and Miri (019-8224566, 019-8290994).— DayakDaily