Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seized animals gone in three months

Source: (By Natalie Heng, 28 Sep 2010)
Some 90% of the animals seized by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks from a warehouse in Taman Wahyu three months ago have allegedly either died or gone missing, claims an informant.

The wildlife haul of over 20 species encompassed thousands of birds – including a rare pair of Cenderawasih, also known as the Bird of Paradise said to be worth RM1 million in the black market – as well as leopard cats, albino pygmy monkeys and domestic cats. Other rare birds seized in the raid were the blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, the black-coloured Palm Cockatoo and the white rump Shama.

The news of the missing or dead animals was revealed by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng who said the informer, who claimed to be a wildlife department staff, approached him a week ago. "He told me that the animals found deceased had clearly died due to starvation," Lim said at a press conference today. He added that the informer had not told him how many animals were dead and how many were missing.
The animals had been handed over to the department in July by the police, who were investigating a stolen car ring, stumbled upon them during a raid on the warehouse.

Lim said he had tried to verify the information with the department last Friday but did not manage to speak to any top official. Instead, he was told the status of the seized animals is unavailable as the case is still under investigation. "That is unacceptable to me; it has been three months since the seizure. I challenge the Department of Wildlife to tell the public where the animals are," he said. Lim also said he hoped that wildlife and animal protection NGOs would join in and put pressure on the wildlife department to reveal the status of the animals seized in July.

The department's director-general could not be reached for comment.

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