Illegal wildlife farm in Sibu busted

To safety: SFC officers rescued some two dozen endangered animals from an illegal wildlife farm in Sibu.

MIRI: In yet another wildlife rescue, enforcement officers moved in on a farm located in the Sibu district and seized some two dozen mammals, birds and crocodiles.

The raid was carried out last week by officers from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) enforcement unit at a plot of private land on the outskirts of Sibu that had been turned into an illegal wildlife farm.

Among the animals seized were a macaque, a sunbear, a bearcat or binturong, several porcupines and hedgehogs, tortoises, crocodiles, as well as a variety of birds, including eagles, the Oriental Pied hornbill and the critically endangered Bali myna.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said its enforcement officers carried out the surprise raid at the farm recently after gathering ground information.

“Investigations showed that it was an illegal wildlife farm. The owner does not have a licence to operate such a wildlife farm. The animals have been rescued and sent to the Matang Wildlife Sanctuary in Kuching, ” he said.

Wildlife officers in Malaysia have had their hands full lately, rescuing a variety of animals, including two sunbears kept in cruel conditions in Sarawak and a cub from a condo in Kuala Lumpur.

Early this month, two gibbons (siamang) kept as pets inside a house in Bukit Jalil were also rescued.

Zolkipli said SFC would be “relentless” in its statewide crackdown against wildlife abuse and exploitation, adding that it “means business”.

Besides enforcement raids, SFC, he added, was working hard in education campaigns against wildlife abuses.

Zolkipli said those found guilty of capturing, possessing or selling protected wildlife could be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed up to five years.

He also urged for more public information to be channelled to the SFC hotlines set up to tackle wildlife abuse in Sarawak – Kuching (019-885 9996,016-856 5564), Sibu (019-819 0140,019-889 4474), Bintulu (019-822 3449) and Miri (019-822 4566,019-829 0994).

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