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KUCHING, April 10: Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) has advised the public not to keep wild animals as pets as they may be carrier of zoonotic diseases.
SFC issued the appeal as there were cases of people leaving their pets in captivity, while going home to their village during the movement control order (MCO).
Yesterday, SFC enforcement officers rescued a monkey, a “macaca fascicularis”, that was left to starve in Sibu.
“SFC received a phone call from the public that claimed there was a monkey left unattended by the owner who went back to the village due to illness following the restriction order. The rescued monkey is kept at a safe place,” the organisation said in a statement.
Macaques are protected species under the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998. Based on the said ordinance, any person who hunts, kills, captures, sells or is in possession of any protected animals shall be guilty of an offence and will face one-year jail and RM10,000 fine.
SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton, who is also the state Controller of Wildlife, said wild animals are best left undisturbed in the wild.
“These ‘pets’ may be carrier of zoonotic diseases which can make them sick when they are weak due to stress and may infect human such as what we are now experiencing with the Covid-19, a disease suspected to transfer from pangolin to human,” he explained.
He pointed out that macaques in Sarawak were documented to be carrier of monkey malaria and other zoonotic diseases.
“Members of the public can lodge a report to SFC if they find anyone keeping protected animals,” he continued.
Those with information on similar illegal activities are urged to call SFC hotlines at 016-8565564/019-8859996 (Kuching), 019-8883561 (Sibu), 019-8223449/019-8332737 (Bintulu) and 019-8290994/018-9799778 (Miri). — DayakDaily