PETALING JAYA: Two siamang gibbons kept as pets inside a house have been rescued by wildlife officers following a tip-off.
Both animals were kept in a cage on the upper floor of the double-storey house in Bukit Jalil.
One of them was found wearing a disposable diaper.
Next to the cage was an open play area linked to the house. There were “trees” built in the play area
to simulate its natural surroundings.
Sources said the pair of gibbons had been kept as pets for the past four years.
After days of surveillance and information gathering, officers from the Federal Territory Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhillitan) raided the house at about 8.30pm on Thursday.
The owner was nowhere to be seen during the raid.
He is believed to be on a trip abroad.
Only a male Indonesian domestic helper and one of the owner’s children were at home at the time.
The officers brought the helper to the police station while a relative came to pick up the girl.
Federal Territory department director Muhamad Bokhari Fadzin, who led the raid, said both animals showed no signs of stress and appeared to have been completely domesticated.
He said further checks would be carried out to determine their age and that the animals had been sent to the district headquarters.
“The siamang gibbon is listed as a protected species. No one is allowed to own them unless they have a special permit from the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry, ” he added.
Muhamad Bokhari said the owners did not have any papers that allowed them to keep the gibbons as pets.
“We have observed a trend of people keeping these animals as pets. Contact us before doing so for advice on how to proceed, ” he added.Muhamad Bokhari noted that there had been five cases in the district this year.
A source said the owner had informed Perhilitan that he was in the midst of moving the gibbons to a sanctuary.
Checks with the neighbours showed that they knew about the animals, but were unaware that it was an offence to keep them.
Thursday’s raid came about after a video of the animals moving about on the second floor of a house was sent to Perhilitan, prompting an investigation.