2 brothers caught at toll plaza for trafficking protected wildlife

2 brothers caught at toll plaza for trafficking protected wildlife
The Malaysian Sun Bear and the Leopard Cat which were among the protected animals seized.

When found by the authorities, the animals - a Malayan sun bear, four barn owls and a common palm civet - were crammed into tiny wire cages stacked in the back of a vehicle.

The animals were part of a hoard that included a leopard cat and a Malayan porcupine being trafficked online.

They were being transported from Seremban, in the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan, when the car was ambushed by wildlife officers at a toll plaza.

Selangor Department of Wildlife Protection and National Parks director Rahim Ahmad said two brothers, aged 20 and 29, were stopped on Oct 10.

Mr Rahim told The Star that officers raided their house in Seremban on the same day. Arrests were made following a tip-off, the report said.

"We found one leopard cat, 20 barn owls, two sunda flying lemurs and one Malayan porcupine from the house.

"The porcupine was already dead when officers got to the house," Mr Rahim said on Monday.

These animals are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Both men had been put under remand, said Mr Rahim.

The combined value of the seized animals - sold for between RM10,000 and RM1,000 each - totalled about RM30,000 (S$11,695). Mr Rahim said the seized wildlife will be released back into their natural habitat in a protected area upon acquiring a court order.

THRIVING

The booming trade in illegal wildlife is due to easy access through the Internet, the report said.

A search by The Star on major advertising sites showed postings offering endangered animals like tortoises and even tigers for sale.

Buyers merely have to search for the animal through the various postings, contact the seller and negotiate a price and delivery method.

An inquiry by The Star for the endangered radiated tortoise on a local classified website showed that most sellers responded to inquiries on Whatsapp within a day.


This article was first published on October 15, 2014.
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