KUCHING, Dec 29: Referring to concerns expressed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Sarawak epidemiologists about live wildlife species in international wildlife trade – seen as the potential cause of the emergence of Covid-19, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) today announced that they will not be issuing any permits to import any exotic live wildlife until further notice.
Controller of Wildlife Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said many native species were under threat from exotic species that are imported as wildlife pets, usually illegally.
“If imported illegally, the exotic pets do not pass through veterinary or public health checks, and maybe harbouring unknown viruses or other pathogens that could potentially proliferate in pet shops and Sarawakian homes,” Zolkifli said in a statement here today.
He added that when these exotic pets were released into Sarawak’s forests and waterways, they can deprive the local species of food resources.
“Some of the exotic species are also much more aggressive than related local species so they out-compete them, causing major declines of those native species. Examples include major decreases in ranges of munias caused by the exotic Eurasian Tree Sparrow, common or Indian mynas displacing other native birds, and the proliferation of the American bullfrog in our gardens displacing our grass of kampong frog (Fejervarya limnocharis),” he said.
As such, SFC will continue to work with various border control agencies such as the Customs Department to stop the smuggling of these exotic species into the state.
“Seizures will be made at border control areas such as airports, ports, customs checkpoints and also pet stores that do not have legal licenses or permits,” he said.
Zolkipli said, in the next six months, SFC will tag legal, licensed exotic wild animals in the State, and invest in veterinary health checks on these animals. -DayakDaily