Many Malaysians going wild for unusual pets

Rare pets: Chew holding a Kenya leopard tortoise (right) and a red-footed tortoise at Nilufar Pet & Aquatic shop at Atria Shopping Gallery in Petaling Jaya.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - Keeping an exotic pet may seem fancy but being a responsible owner requires knowledge and proper documentation to ensure the animal's welfare.

Nilufar Pet & Aquatic manager Jeline Chew said lately, exotic animals have become one of the popular choices among pet lovers.

She said there were more people looking to buy exotic animals and keeping them as pets.

"There is a list of exotic animals under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2012 that requires licensing such as certain types of tortoises, lizards, parrots, macaws, chameleon, pythons, chinchilla, iguanas and many more," she said in an interview.

"It's rare to get this wide range always but we at Nilufar are able to assist you to get the specific kind that you want. We know the legal channels to bring in as we work closely with the Wildlife Department."

Chew said proper transportation of exotic animals was vital to ensure they do not undergo duress during the travel period.

She said legally imported exotic animals are brought in through proper channels which have stringent requirements that need to be met during transportation.

"The travelling period is very important for these animals because if the environment or conditions that they are brought in are bad, they may get sick and die.

"This is why we encourage people to buy exotic pets that are legal," Chew said.

She said animals that are not handled well during the transportation period could also suffer from health problems over a period of time.

Chew said her shop did not compromise on the health of the animals that were brought in, adding that they were quarantined and put under observation for a week before being sold.

Her shop sells about 30 types of exotic animals, including tortoise species such as the Kenya leopard, sulcata and red-footed tortoise, green iguanas, chameleons, chinchillas, pythons, parrots and marmosets which are mostly imported from Europe, South Africa and the United States.

Chew said exotic animals brought in legally also come with a microchip, which is given to the customers when they buy the animals.

The microchip is required when exotic pet owners register with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to obtain the licence.

Chew said customers are informed about the Perhilitan licence, which needs to be renewed annually.

"We have the licence from Perhilitan to sell exotic animals to consumers. Once the customer buys the exotic animal, we will issue a receipt so they can apply for the licence.

"They will need to go to the nearest Perhilitan to register within 14 days of buying the animals," said Chew, adding that the process is fast and easy.

Nilufar Pet & Aquatic is one of the largest aquatic and pet megastores in the Klang Valley providing everything animal lovers would need and want for their precious pets.