Taking down of elephant hunting syndicate hailed
The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) congratulates the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP) and the Malaysian Armed Forces for taking down one of Malaysia’s most wanted elephant hunting syndicates.
The joint effort, under the joint 1Malaysia Biodiversity Enforcement Operation Network (1MBEON), saw the arrest of seven locals in Kelantan and the confiscation of many weapons, including firearms, explosives and ammunition for shotguns and high-powered rifles. Also seized were wildlife parts, including tiger teeth and dried elephant meat.
Known for targeting elephants, gaur, serow and sambar in Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak, the group is allegedly responsible for at least 15 dead elephants poached for their ivory between 2013 and 2016. Chainsaws believed to have been used to remove tusks from the elephants were also confiscated.
“This case tells us that poachers have access to serious firepower and that they are becoming increasingly well organised. We hope the Royal Malaysian Police will assist DWNP in bringing these criminals to justice,” said Dr Chris R Shepherd, regional director of Traffic in South-East Asia.
The group faces multiple charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, and also charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
“This represents a classic example for the need to have both an intelligence-based and special operations team to act on targeted information in crippling wildlife poaching in our country. This is the only way we are going to stop them from emptying our forests,” said Dionysius SK Sharma, executive director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia.
“We advocate for the need of maximum sentences to be meted out to wildlife criminals to serve as a deterrent to others, ultimately resulting in reduced human pressure on Malaysia’s biodiversity,” sid Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia.
“We acknowledge the strong commitment of the Malaysian authorities in fighting crimes against wildlife and we would like to thank everyone who sent relevant information that assisted the authorities in nabbing the criminals,” said Dr Kae Kawanishi, Mycat general manager.
Mycat encourages the public to stay vigilant and continue reporting any suspected wildlife crime to the 24-hour Mycat Wildlife Crime Hotline at 019 356 4194, [email protected] or to the Perhilitan hotline at 1-800-88-5151.
MYCAT is an alliance of the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia.