Johor wildlife officers arrest man, seize 22 protected birds after raid on Pasir Gudang pet shop

Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department officers inspect the bird cages after a raid at a pet shop in Taman Kota Masai, Pasir Gudang June 4, 2021. — Picture courtesy of Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department
Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department officers inspect the bird cages after a raid at a pet shop in Taman Kota Masai, Pasir Gudang June 4, 2021. — Picture courtesy of Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department

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JOHOR BARU, June 5 — The Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) arrested a 34-year-old man and seized a total of 22 protected birds, including three jungle fowls, during a raid on a pet shop in Taman Kota Masai, Pasir Gudang yesterday.

Among the seized protected bird species were 15 white-rumped shama (burung murai batu), two melodious laughingthrush (burung hwamei), two hanging parrots (burung serindit) and three jungle fowl (ayam hutan).

Johor Perhilitan director Salman Saaban said the 5.30pm raid also saw the four-man team confiscate 19 cages from the pet shop.

“The raid was initiated by the department’s officers following information that the pet shop did not have permission or any valid permits from Perhilitan to keep the protected birds.

“All the seized birds, including their cages, are estimated to be worth RM13,800 and will be kept by the department’s enforcement officers for further investigation,” said Salman in a statement issued here today.

Salman said Perhilitan officers also quizzed the suspect who is also the pet shop owner over the lack of proper documentation.

He said initial investigations also revealed that this is the second time that the pet shop has been raided by the department.

“The same pet shop was raided earlier this year for the same offence and the case is still under investigation,” he added.

Salman said a police report has been lodged by the department on the raid and seizure.

“We (Perhilitan) will conduct investigations under Section 60 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for hunting or keeping protected wildlife without a valid permit or licence,” he said.

Under the Act, also known as Act 716, a conviction could result in a fine of up to RM50,000, or a maximum imprisonment term of two years, or both.

According to a recent report by wildlife trade watchdog Traffic, the confiscation of protected birds, especially songbirds, by Malaysian authorities has been on the rise over the past five years.

The report said 26,950 birds were confiscated in just 44 incidents that implicated Malaysia from January 2015 to December last year, where 66 per cent of the animals were seized in 2020 alone.

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