Tuesday, August 4

Huge profits, low fines fuel wildlife smuggling — Dept


KUALA LUMPUR: High demand, low fines and huge profits are believed to be the main reasons for a spike in wildlife trafficking or smuggling activities in the country.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) Enforcement Division director Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said huge profits from the sale of exotic animals, like pangolin, snakes and squirrels have seen a hike in smuggling activities.

“For example, pangolins have a high demand and can fetch prices of up to RM600 a kilogramme. The weight of a pangolin is anywhere between five to six kilogrammes.

“So, if 10s of pangolin are smuggled out, imagine the kind of profit they (smugglers) can make,” he told Bernama.

He said under the Section 68(1)(b) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and Section 86(1)(1) of the same Act, if found guilty a fine of not more than RM100,000 or five years jail is imposed.

“The RM100,000 is not a big amount, at least to the smugglers because they can make big bucks from the sale of these exotic animals,” he said adding that a high demand for such exotic animals also fuels such activities.

“When there is a huge demand, the number of smuggling activities increase because everyone wants to make quick profits. For example during cold weather in foreign countries, especially in September and October, the demand for pangolins and snakes is very high because it is eaten to keep the body warm,” he said.

The is also a link between local smugglers and smugglers from neighbouring countries, he said.

“When there is a shortage of exotic animals in the country they contact their counterparts for supply,” he said. — Bernama