MIDDLEMEN are using the Orang Asli to hunt endangered animals.As the Orang Asli are allowed to hunt certain animals for their own consumption, the middlemen pay them to trap and kill wildlife that is in demand in the market.
Pahang Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Khairiah Mohd Shariff says the Orang Asli are targeting leopards and bears.
She says the syndicates rely on the Orang Asli to trap the animals as they realise that these people are familiar with the routes used by the animals as well as their resting places.
"Our investigations reveal that the Orang Asli will capture the endangered clouded monitor lizards usually found in oil palm plantations and hand them over to middlemen. The lizards are usually destined for cooking pots in exotic meat restaurants overseas.
"The demand for the wildlife has spurred the Orang Asli to hunt for the animals as they have come to realise the high value of certain animals."
Khairiah says the syndicates are using the Orang Asli to shield their activities from the authorities.
She says Perhilitan officers have, on numerous occasions, spotted Orang Asli selling the Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (burung serindit) along the Kuantan-Segamat Highway but nowadays, the Orang Asli have become bolder and are keeping wildlife organs in their homes.
In a recent seizure, the department found chunks of leopard, bear and deer meat as well as slaughtered mousedeer in a refrigerator at an Orang Asli village headman's house.
Several days later, the department rescued 41 endangered clouded monitor lizards from a nearby Orang Asli settlement. Both seizures took place in Pahang.
Read more: Orang Asli lured into trapping rich pickings http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/12midd/Article/#ixzz1NtwzOono