KUCHING: Director of Forests Department Sarawak who is also the Controller of Wildlife secured a court order to destroy about 100 kg of pangolin scales and parts in an attempt to curb protected wildlife trade.
This contraband was seized by Customs officers at their checkpoint at Pending Postal Centre here recently.
“It is believed that these pangolin scales and other parts, packaged into 11 boxes, were destined for export through Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah by unknown person or persons,” the State Forestry Department said in a press statement yesterday.
“This consignment is believed to be worth around RM50,000 in illegal wildlife trade. The consignments detected by Customs officers were declared as tropical fruits with the animal parts mingled with the seeds of the mahogany tree as a camouflage,” the statement added.
Pangolin, also known as Manis Javanica in Latin, is a protected mammal under Section 29(2) of the state’s Wildlife Protected Ordinance, 1998.
Trading in the species is an offence that carries a penalty of imprisonment for one year and fine of RM10,000 upon conviction.
It is also an offence under Section 12 of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 that carries a penalty of RM100,000 to RM1 million and/or imprisonment up to seven years.
Pangolin is listed in the Second Schedule of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and requires a permit from the Controller of Wildlife for it to be traded.
It is believed that pangolin parts have medicinal value and it is a highly sought item in the Far East though not backed by scientific proof.
The Controller of Wildlife urged the public to refrain from hunting pangolins and other protected animals that are part of a healthy ecosystem. The Forest Department which is monitoring all illegal wildlife hunting and trade will investigate the cases when it comes across them.
The Controller of Wildlife thanks other enforcement agencies, especially Customs Department and the police, for their support and cooperation in curbing illegal wildlife trade.