PUTRAJAYA: Five wildlife traffickers were caught and 32 rare animals, including a tiger cub, bearcat and dwarf caiman, were rescued by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).
The nearly 20 species of animal recovered in the operation were worth about RM500,000, among them a leopard cat, mouse-deer, turtle, four baby monkeys, birds and squirrels.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the operation was carried out on Wednesday following checks on sales of wildlife through the Internet and via social media.
He said that among the animals rescued were threatened species.
“Their numbers in the wild are small and they’re almost extinct,” he said at Wisma Sumber Asli here.
“Take the tiger for example, there are only 250 to 300 left while binturong (bearcat) and squirrels are hard to find,” he said.
The operation, dubbed Ops Taring, was carried out in Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor. Two pet shops and three private premises were raided.
Dr Wan Junaidi said Perhilitan will decide what to do with the animals after their DNA was tested.
The five traffickers, believed part of a criminal network smuggling wildlife obtained from communities living near forests, were being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
On the same day as the operation, Perhilitan also arrested an Indian national suspected of smuggling part of an animal, believed to be a tiger.
The man was remanded to help in an investigation into the importing of parts of a protected animal without a permit.
The Government will not hesitate to take stern action against those engaged in such criminal activities, said Dr Wan Junaidi.
He urged the public to be the eyes and ears of Perhilitan, and to inform the department of any illegal activities.
The minister added that Perhilitan had in previous operations caught 59 individuals in total for illegally trapping and keeping wild animals.