KOTA KINABALU, Jan 4 — A local was arrested by Wildlife Department enforcers here for attempting to sell a live pangolin through text messaging app WhatsApp.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said that enforcement personnel here was notified yesterday by a member of the public of a possible sale of the protected animal and dispatched a team to the meeting point at a Kota Belud petrol station.
“A team of four personnel was dispatched to track and inspect a grey Proton Persona at the petrol station. Upon inspection, the team found a live pangolin in the back bonnet of the sedan car,” he said.
The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was arrested for further investigation while the pangolin and car were also seized.
The tip-off came after the suspect had tried to sell the pangolin through a WhatsApp chat group specifically set up for the trade of animals.
Pangolins are fully protected under Part I of Schedule I of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
Possession of any animal under this schedule without any valid permit from the Sabah Wildlife Department is an offence under Section 41(1) of the Enactment and punishable with a fine between RM 50,000 and RM250,000 and imprisonment between one year and five years.
Tuuga thanked the public for their help in providing the information leading to the arrest.
He also stressed that the selling or offering of protected wildlife through social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook is widespread, and the department will continue to monitor these activities.
“The department strives to do the best possible even though the department has very limited capacity,” he said.