PETALING JAYA: WWF-Malaysia today congratulated the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) on the success in arresting two men found with the carcasses of a leopard and a mouse deer near Karak, Pahang.
The arrest that was made on Feb 17 is indicative of Perhilitan's determination to battle the ever increasing illegal wildlife trade in Malaysia and over the last six months, five leopards and one tiger carcass have been seized by the department, it said in a statement.
"WWF-Malaysia hopes that this arrest would serve as a stern warning and a deterrent to all potential poachers and wildlife traders.
"Poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Malaysia are no longer a local problem as they involve more and more international syndicates operating with up-to-date technology," said WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma.
"Poaching and illegal wildlife trade have depressed the population densities of large mammals in Malaysia, substantially hampering conservation efforts to protect our precious biodiversity.
"Many of these magnificent large mammals, leopard and tiger included, serve important roles in maintaining the ecological equilibrium of our ecosystems, without which, our forests would be left impoverished," he said.
Wildlife conservation non-governmental organisation (NGO) TRAFFIC said the arrest was made after authorities found the carcass of the leopard and mouse deer at a bus stop in Karak, and the officers also seized two bullets, two mobile phones, a backpack, a machete and a motorcycle from the suspects.
The two are expected to face charges on three counts of illegal hunting under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, if convicted, they face a mandatory minimum fine of RM200,000 and prison sentence that could stretch up to 20 years.