SUBANG JAYA: The Brahminy Kite, or "Helang Merah", that was spotted in a cage at a house in Putra Heights is believed to have been released by its owner on Tuesday (June 11) following a report by The Star.
A check by The Star on Tuesday (June 11) found that the highly-protected bird was roaming freely near its neighbourhood, while its cage outside the house had disappeared.
Two foreign workers were also spotted cleaning the area where the cage was formerly located.
Following public tip-off on Sunday (June 9), The Star found the eagle in a cage outside the corner lot terrace house.
Residents told The Star on Sunday that the bird had been in that cage for at least a year, leading some to report the matter to the authorities.
The Star had alerted the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) of the bird's captivity on Sunday.
Asked to comment on the matter, a Perhilitan spokesman on Tuesday said a team of officers had been sent to investigate the matter.
However, the spokesman could not divulge further because she was not authorised to speak to the media.
Wildlife protection NGO Traffic senior communications officer Elizabeth John said that owners cannot use ignorance as an excuse to keep exotic pets, as much awareness has been raised over the topic of illegal wildlife trade.
"The thousands of Malaysians who are online in exotic pet trade groups would have seen the many posts warning that it is illegal or unethical to buy protected species.
"Clearly, that hasn't stopped them so they have to pay the price for breaking the law," she said.
"Brahminy Kites are totally protected under the law as are many other species which often end up in illegal trade because of the demand for exotic pets and a total disregard for the law," she added.
Anyone in possession of the bird can be fined up to RM100,000, jailed up to three years, or both.
The Brahminy kite is a mediumsized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes other raptors, such as eagles, buzzards and harriers.