http://www.mmail.com.my/content/77919-perhilitans-animal-instictsPerhilitan's animal insticts
Submitted by Najiah on Friday, July 15th, 2011
As long as there's demand, illegal meat trade will flourish, says Perhilitan head
Friday, July 15th, 2011 14:26:00
The Malay Mail spoke to Perhilitan director-general DATUK ABD RASID SAMSUDIN (left) yesterday about what the department is doing to tackle the issue.
Q: Why do restaurants persist in serving dishes made from the meat of exotic and endangered species?
A: It is about demand and supply. If there is no demand for such meat, it would not be sold. For example, during the raid on July 6, there were a variety of meat being served at the restaurant but people preferred to eat dishes made from the meat of the Malayan sun bear. The case is still under investigation.
Q: Where do these restaurant operators get their supply of such meat?
A: They go through a middlemen. Orang asli, who have access to national parks and forests in the Peninsular, are being paid a small sum to hunt for the meat. It is a pity the orang asli are being used this way as many do it for the money.
In the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, orang asli are allowed to hunt for endangered wildlife such as deer and ayam hutan (jungle fowl) but only enough to feed themselves. Imagine, an orang asli is paid only RM380 for each Pangolin they catch, which isn’t much. However, we are not blaming their community as they are being taken advantage of by irresponsible parties.
Q: Who is tipping-off Perhilitan on such illegal trade?
A: We are proud to say we receive tip-offs from the public. More people are becoming aware of such trade and when they give us accurate information, we give them a small reward.
Q: Does Perhilitan monitor restaurants in the Klang Valley suspected of selling exotic dishes?
A: Yes. We have identified several hotspots in the Klang Valley, such as in Subang Jaya, where restaurants serve exotic dishes. Some restaurants have been raided many times but they still serve those dishes, so we have to constantly monitor them. Our aim is to find their main supplier.
Q: How many illegal traders have been arrested and charged?
A: In the last five years, we arrested and charged 170 individuals under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Q: What action has Perhilitan taken to tackle this menace?
A: We constantly monitor our national forests. There are several laws enshrined in the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which we enforce, such as Subsection 62, which states anyone who hunts or keeps the female of a protected species without a licence shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
Meanwhile, Subsection 63 stipulates any person who carries out wildlife trade or taxidermy without a licence shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment up to two years or both, upon conviction.
Q: How many animal species are protected by Perhilitan?
A: There are 2,120 protected endangered species and subspecies. We also protect several non-endangered animals, such as wildboar and monkeys, in order to preserve the natural habitat.
Q: Which protected species or animal products are the most traded in and out of Malaysia?
A: The three most traded are pangolin, wildboar and clouded monitor. Others include murai batu (white-rumped shama) and merbah telinga merah (red-whiskered bulbul) bird nests.
WILDLIFE authorities in the country have long been fighting to stem the tide of illegal trade of the meat of endangered species in the country. The issue was recently brought to the fore after a raid by the Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan) led to the discovery of 1.27kg of meat, supposedly that of the endangered Malayan sun bear, being served in a restaurant in Jalan Kuching.