PETALING JAYA - Conservation groups have expressed concern over the recent flood of "sport hunting" pictures of many protected species on Facebook.
Among the pictures - believed to be taken in Sarawak recently - were hunters posing with a slaughtered sun bear, a dead clouded leopard, and pangolins readied for the cooking pot.
Also seen were several dead river terrapins, silver leaf monkeys, and what looked like wild boars or deer, other than a Facebook page advertising a baby leopard cat for sale.
Many of the species featured are listed as near threatened, vulnerable or critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Expressing concern, Danau Girang Field Centre director Dr Benoit Goossens said the animals are totally protected in Malaysia as they are highly endangered.
"This is going on and on and on ... How can these guys parade on social media without being arrested?" he said in a Facebook post, arguing that this is far from any form of "subsistence hunting".
Dr Goossens, who is based in Sabah, said the pictures are unlikely to be linked to the recent Harvest Festival celebration in Sabah or Sarawak.
"I would say the festival has an influence when it comes to the sambar deer or the bearded pig, but not those highly endangered species. This is sport hunting - for fun!"
"These guys have no fear. They post pictures of their crime on social media," he said, adding that it was also in contact with an expert on cybercrime to trace those involved.
He said he had posted the pictures on Facebook after receiving them on Monday
"Hopefully, with those images, the Wildlife Department of Sarawak can arrest them," it said.
Dr Melvin Gumal, director of Sarawak-based Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Programme, said the laws to protect endangered wildlife such as the Malayan sun bear must be upheld.
"If not, all the planning for sustaining diversity and the environment in the future, including TN50, will be futile," he said.
When contacted, Assistant Minister of Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh said he had asked both the Sarawak Forest Department and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation to investigate the pictures.
State Forest Department director Sapuan Ahmad said it would be writing to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to get information on the Facebook users and IP addresses, before lodging a police report.