BELAGA - Two macaques (which are protected animals), one of them a baby, were found caged behind an eatery along the main road to Bakun Dam in Belaga district, deep in central Sarawak.
The animals were confined to a filthy iron cage measuring about 0.9m-long and 0.6m-wide near the toilets behind the kitchen.
It is unclear if the two brown macaques are meant for sale, being kept as pets by the eatery-cum-sundry shop owner or are destined for slaughter.
The Star, which discovered them on Friday while covering Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's visit to the dam area, asked some truck drivers there and was told that loggers and native farmers caught these creatures from the forests in the region and sold them to interested buyers.
"Tiga ratus ringgit boleh beli satu (Can buy one of these monkeys for RM300 [S$99])," one of the drivers claimed.
Near the toilets were other animals, including several large terrapins in small containers.
It is not clear if the terrapins were destined for the cooking pot.
The adult macaque was seen pacing restlessly while the baby tried to claw and chew at the iron bars.
A Sarawak Forestry official in Bintulu, the nearest main urban centre located 250km from Bakun, said his department would look into the case.