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PUTRAJAYA, July 5 — The Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) had detained 59 individuals involved in illegal online wildlife trade since 2014.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in a statement today said of the total, 26 had been sentenced and the rest awaiting prosecution.
He said they were arrested in a special operation known as ‘Op Taring I, II and III’ which involved the illegal sale of wildlife, online.
Wan Junaidi said his Ministry and the Wildlife Department viewed illegal sales of wildlife using social media platforms and websites, seriously.
“Hence, Perhilitan has collaborated with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission as well as held discussions with commercial website operators to take action against any advertisement offering illegal sale of wildlife,” he said.
He added that, it was a current trend for people to keep animals as a hobby and a source of pride for them to have it as a trophy.
Among wildlife that is often kept as pets are fox, ball python, spiders, scorpions and so on.
“Usually individuals who are interested will buy the wildlife at pet stores, but now they purchase online in line with current global business developments.
Online purchase is further supported by widespread Internet access and sales are carried out faster by unscrupulous individuals who market and illegally sell wildlife such as ‘kongkang’, gibbons, bears, eagles and owls,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said Perhilitan had set up a Cyber Crime Unit in 2013 to monitor social media sites that advertise and offer wildlife for sale, and to channel information to the Wildlife Crime Unit.
According to him, the Wildlife Department was also actively monitoring more than three of the 50 pages (facebook) or groups who offer and sell wildlife online through 30 new ads posted on each web page, every day.
“As many as 100 Facebook accounts were identified offering wildlife for sale and 50 per cent of wildlife products offered are illegal such as ‘Kucing Batu’, snakes, young leaf monkeys and many protected wildlife species,” he said.
“The business licence of individuals or companies found involved in this crime, will be suspended or revoked under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716),” he said. — Bernama