SHAH ALAM - A total of 133 locals and foreigners landed themselves in handcuffs after they were caught by the authorities over their involvement in wildlife hunting.
According to the Khazanah Integrated Operations (OBK) conducted by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) in 2021, more than RM31.9 million worth of items and wildlife had been seized.
Its director-general, Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said the suspects who were arrested have been charged in court for allegedly committing the offences.
The suspects, he said comprised 121 locals while the others were from Myanmar (4), Indonesia (1), Pakistan (1) and Thailand (1).
“These people have been investigated for various offences including possession and storage of wildlife, hunting, smuggling, possession of firearms, encroachment, and other offences.
“Throughout the series of operations, we have identified tents belonging to 59 illegal immigrants as well as 303 bear traps which had been destroyed” he told Sinar Harian on Wednesday.
He added that actions were taken under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, the National Forestry Act 1984 and the Arms Act 1960.
Abdul Kadir said, OBK had in 2021 recorded over RM31.9 million worth of items seized which included wildlife species, firearms, bullets, knives and vehicles such as boats and motorcycles as well as freezers.
OBK is an enforcement operation under the the Biodiversity Protection and Patrolling Programme (BP3) that has been implemented since September 2019, he said.
“The operation is a cooperation between Perhilitan and the General Operations Force (PGA) under the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia, Johor National Parks Corporation (PTNJ), Perak State Parks Corporation and non-governmental Organisations (NGO),” he said.
Abdul Kadir emphasized that the department will continue with its enforcement efforts to combat any form of criminal activity involving the wildlife in Malaysia, especially in protecting the Malayan Tiger which are being hunted to extinction
On Jan 10, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob voiced his concerns over the risks of extinction of the tiger which was the symbol of the coat of arms of Malaysia and the logos of the states, ministries, governmental departments and agencies in Malaysia if immediate actions were not taken.
In September 2021, Sinar Harian through an exclusive report revealed that the tiger poachers usually patrol around certain rural areas and had sought information from the residents there regarding the wild animals.
The poachers were interested in hunting down the tigers due to the fact that they were worth a lot of money.
The residents were normally given between RM50 and RM500, if they were able to find footprints.
Through the special report, various popular wildlife species like deers, tigers, mountain goats, bears, male elephants and tapirs, among others became the target of illegal poachers.