1 out of 3 protected animals seized by Malaysia wildlife department dies under its care

Stressed out porcupines began shedding their quills at the Sungai Tengi Wildlife Rescue Centre in Selangor last year.
Stressed out porcupines began shedding their quills at the Sungai Tengi Wildlife Rescue Centre in Selangor last year.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Nearly 30 per cent - or one out of three - of the protected animals seized by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) died under its care.

A Perhilitan spokesman said that an average of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of the seized animals died as these animals had suffered injury or contracted diseases while being moved from place to place.

"Some species are sensitive and get stressed very easily when travelling in unsuitable containers.

"Others already suffered internal injuries and illness before they were seized and had little chance of survival," the spokesman said in an e-mail reply to The Star.

It said that between September 2016 and January, the department conducted 837 enforcement raids.

Besides seizing wildlife smuggled into the country, Perhilitan enforcement also involved technical issues related to late licence renewal. Of the number of cases, 42 involved court action.

While the department did not address the fate of the 1,000 seized Indian Star tortoises, the spokesman said the reptiles were not repatriated as the Indian authorities had rejected the department's offer to send them back home.

It said all seized animals were dealt with and handled according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature guidelines.

The local species seized from the traders have been treated and rehabilitated. They will be released back into the wild.