ANIMAL PROTECTION

New Straits Times

Malaysia looking at making pangolins a completely protected species

‘Enough is enough’ says minister pushing for the move, although he admits putting a complete stop to the trade is impossible

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 3:24pm

By Kristy Inus

Malaysia’s Sabah Wildlife Department is looking at upgrading the status of Pangolin to a completely protected species.

The department is in the midst of preparing a paper on the matter to upgrade the status of the mammal to Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said he had ordered the department which falls under his ministry, to undertake the matter as soon as possible.

“They have always been planning to do this but now enough is enough. While it is impossible for a complete stop of pangolin or wildlife trade, what is important is that we send a strong message to all citizens on the need for all of us to work together in protecting them,” he said.

Masidi said this when asked about the recent case of an attempt to smuggle in RM103 million (US$24 million) worth of pangolin scales weighing 8,000 kilogrammes via Sepanggar Port.

In Sabah, Schedule 2 of the Enactment permits the hunting of the listed animals with a permit.

Masidi hoped that the stronger legislation via the status upgrading will help cut off illegal wildlife trade.

On the scales confiscated on July 29, Sabah Customs Department believes the scales were sourced from some 16,000 pangolins.

Asked whether the state government is pursuing to verify where they came from, Masidi said it is up to the Wildlife Department but there is obviously ‘a need to do so’.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment deputy minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming had previously stated that Malaysia was likely to be a transshipment point in this case, as there was ‘no way a pangolin population of that size can come from Sabah’.

Customs director-general Datuk T. Subromaniam said investigations involving the 43-year-old suspect in the pangolin scales case are almost complete and he is expected to be charged in court soon.

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