Malaysia Announces Permit Program for Protected Animals

From The Star.  Note the time lags from CITES accession (1977) to passage of domestic endangered species legislation (2008)  to implementation of the legislation (2009) to enforcement of this new rule (June 2010) and you will have some idea why Malaysia is a global wildlife trafficking hub and why weak laws and poor law enforcement are a cause.  Experts worry this new permit program will open the door to smuggling, enabling people to launder animals or will cause an increase in smuggling during the 6 mos. grace period.  Of course, it also rewards those who smuggled these animals out of their home countries.

The Star Online > Nation
Monday December 28, 2009

Owners of protected animals have six months to register

PETALING JAYA: Owners of endangered species will be required to apply for permits from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) starting today.

The requirement — even for endangered species as pets — is the result of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 coming into force.

Perhilitan legislation and enfor­cement director Saharudin Anan said all owners of such species have six months beginning today to obtain the necessary permits.

“They have six months’ grace to register before enforcement begins,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Besides pet owners, pet shop owners and any other individuals who could be in possession of such species of animals will also have to obtain the necessary permits.

Common household pets which are on the endangered species list include tortoises such as the star and radiated tortoises. Other exotic pets such as imported snakes and reptiles are also covered.

Saharudin said registration was required under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) and the endangered specie list under the Act mirrors the lists of species under Cites.

Malaysia acceded to Cites on Oct 20, 1977, and the convention entered into force in Malaysia on Jan 18,1978.

Saharudin said: “Under the Act, endangered animals found to be without permits will be confiscated and the owners fined.”

Under the Act, possession of such animals without a permit could attract the owner a fine of a maximum of RM100,000 for each one found up to a total of RM1mil, or be sentenced to a maximum of seven year’s jail.

Corporate bodies and zoos found in violation can be fined from RM200,000 up to a total of RM2mil. Similar fines and jail sentences are provided for those who sell, advertise for sale or display to the public such species without permits.

The public can refer to Perhilitan’s website www.wildlife.gov.my for more information.

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