KOTA KINABALU - Wildlife rangers confiscated two critically endangered turtles from a mini zoo in the state's northern Kudat district.
A green turtle and Hawksbill turtle were rescued by a Sabah Wildlife Department enforcement team and Wildlife Rescue Unit from the zoo at Kg Parapat about 40km from Kudat town.
Department enforcement officer Benedict Jani, who led the raid following a tip-off, said both marine turtles were fully protected under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment.
Those found guilty could be fined up to RM50,000 (S$19,400) or jailed five years or both.
Jani said the manager of the mini zoo was detained to assist in investigations.
"This is a serious offence and besides possessing endangered marine turtles, conditions at the mini zoo were very poor for the animals.
"We will likely revoke the permit of the zoo and confiscate all the animals deemed protected under the Sabah Wildlife Enactment," he added.
Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said the information was that the zoo had acquired the turtles for an exhibition.
"Since we started our 24-hour hotline, we have received many calls on wildlife kept as pets and of meat being sold openly," he added.
He appealed to the public to use the hotline (012-8019289) to provide more information.
Dr Sen said the rescued turtles were being kept in the Borneo Marine Research Institute and would be released to the sea soon.