Tiger Parts Seized in Raid on Malaysia Restaurant

A restaurant owner could face RM600,000 (U.S.$196,000) in fines and time in jail after authorities found him in possession of meat and parts of several protected species including several pieces of dried tiger parts, TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said today.

“Officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) in Pahang, a state on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, found close to 17 kilogrammes [37 pounds] of common barking deer meat, two skinned mouse deer, 54 Argus pheasant feathers, [and] a White-breasted waterhen when they raided the man’s house and shop .. yesterday (March 15),” TRAFFIC said in a news statement accompanying this photo.

Khairiah-Mohd-Shariff-c-TRAFFIC.jpgThe tiger parts were found in a sealed glass jar along with dried parts of several other animals, which will be sent for forensic analysis, according to TRAFFIC. The wildlife trade monitoring network is a collaboration of WWF and IUCN.

Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia

The tiger parts found in the suspect’s possession was significant because his village of Kubang Rusa in Merapoh, lies within Malaysia’s most important tiger corridor, Pahang Perhilitan Director Khairiah Mohd Shariff said in TRAFFIC’s statement.

The corridor, Sungai Yu, is a critical link between the Taman Negara national park and the Main Range, two of Malaysia’s most important tiger landscapes, as identified in the country’s Tiger Conservation Action Plan, TRAFFIC explained.

According to today’s announcement:

The suspect is a second-time offender, having been convicted in 2008 for possession of Barking Deer meat without a permit. He could face two charges under Section 68 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for keeping the Tiger parts and Argus Pheasant feathers without a permit. Unlawful possession of some totally protected species such as Tigers, also carries a mandatory jail requirement under this law.

The suspect also faces another three charges under Section 60 of the same Act for keeping the protected White-breasted Waterhen and exotic meats without a permit. He is out on bail pending trial.

In two other operations this month, Perhilitan Pahang seized Wild Boar meat from two houses in the town of Triang and are expected to charge two local men and a woman for being in possession of the meat without a licence. And earlier in February, officers also seized a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and two Blue-crowned Hanging-parrots from a man in the town of Janda Baik.

All suspects face heavy fines under the new law which came into force last December.

So far this year Perhilitan Pahang has also seized four guns from people who have committed hunting offences in the State, including one home-made gun.”

Khairiah, the Pahang Perhilitan director, expressed concern over the abuse of weapons for illegal hunting and told a press conference that the Department would not hesitate to use its powers under the new law to confiscate guns under these circumstances and seek police assistance to revoke an offender’s licence to carry and use a gun, TRAFFIC said.

“It is wildlife traders such as this one that have given Malaysia a reputation as being a poaching hotspot and trade hub. These criminals are posing a serious threat to the continual survival of many increasingly threatened species,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s Regional Deputy Director Chris R. Shepherd.

“The authorities are to be applauded for taking action, especially in such a critical Tiger landscape. TRAFFIC urges the authorities to penalize this man and others like him to the full extent of the law to deter further such crime, and to demonstrate just how serious they are about protecting Malaysia’s natural heritage,” he said.

Posted from news materials submitted by TRAFFIC.

12418031_10153900711084116_8462971761216697621_nDavid Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.

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More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn