Kelantan police forces seized carcasses of a tiger and a black panther as well as 10 elephant tusks yesterday. These items are estimated to be worth around RM500,000 and are likely intended for sale via illegal means.
Details of the Seizure
According to Kelantan police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Shafien Mamat, the seizure was a part of state police project Op Khazanah. This seizure took place at a house in Kampung Bukit Tok Che Dol. It happened at around 7:40am yesterday.
A 25-year-old man suspected of direct involvement in the illegal procurement of the items mentioned was arrested. The suspect is believed to have played an active role in an illegal poaching syndicate which has been active for more than one year.
“A team of policemen conducted an inspection at the house, believed to be used as a store to keep the catch, and found the carcasses of a tiger and a black panther without internal organs in the freezer and all the ivory at the premises,” Deputy Commissioner Shafien said during a press conference at the Kelantan state police headquarters located in Kota Bharu.
“Initial investigation also found that the carcasses of the animals are believed to have been stored since last April and we also estimate the age of these two animals are adults of more than 10 years,” he added. “All the seizures were handed over to the Kelantan Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) for further action.”
According to Deputy Commissioner Shafien, the estimated value of the seized items was derived from the fact that illegal merchants usually sell tiger carcasses at a price of around RM300,000. These same merchants typically sell black panther carcasses for approximately RM100,000 and elephant tusks for RM10,000 each. However, particularly large or small elephant tusks may have different prices according to their respective sizes and weights.
Deputy Commissioner Shafien also added that the poaching syndicate used iron wire snares to trap the animals. They would then obtain the animal-derived items. After this, the poachers would shoot the trapped animals.
Authorities are investigating this case under Section 68 (1) (b) and Section 68 (2) (c) of the Wildlife Conservation Act. Those found guilty of violating Section 68 (1) (b) can be fined up to RM100,000, imprisoned for up to three years, or both. Anyone who is found guilty of violating Section 68 (2) (c) may be fined an amount up to RM500,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.
The scope of poaching in Malaysia as well as around the world has increased significantly in recent times. Illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth-most lucrative international crime globally. It only trails drug smuggling, human trafficking, and arms smuggling.
31st December 2020 06:46
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