SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah Wildlife and National Parks Department has intensified its search for oil palm plantation owner Zaitun Arshad and his illegal “pet” tiger throughout the state, including at the Malaysian-Thai border.
Its director, Azmi Johor, said yesterday his men were checking various places to ensure the protected species was not smuggled over to a neighbouring country.
He believed the tiger could still be hidden near Zaitun’s house in Bukit Selambau.
“If the animal is still in the country, it will soon be found. Zaitun cannot hide it for long,” he said, adding his men found Zaitun’s house in Taman Chempaka 2, Bukit Selambau, near here, locked and the tiger missing from the iron cage.
Azmi said once the tiger was found, his department would seek a court order to seize the animal and hand it over to the authorities.
Zaitun, 50, had caught the 18-month-old tiger, which weighs about 200kg, in a trap two weeks ago and had since kept it as his “pet.”
He claimed he had applied to the wildlife department for a permit.
It is an offence under Section 64A of the Wildlife Protection Act to rear, hunt or kill tigers and offenders are liable to a RM15,000 fine or five years’ jail or both.
Azmi said his department had not received any application from Zaitun for the permit or any complaints from nearby residents.
He said the department would not allow the animal to be kept in the housing estate even if Zaitun had applied for the permit.
He urged anyone with information on Zaitun or the tiger to call his office at 04-7302245.