Johor wildlife department thwarts attempt to smuggle 260 birds

KOTA TINGGI (Bernama) – The Johor Department of Wildlife and National Parks thwarted an attempt to smuggle 260 Murai Batu (white-rumped Sharma) birds to Indonesia three days ago.

Its Director Salman Saaban said that all the birds were found in 23 cages at the Layang rest and service area of Senai-Desaru Highway.

“Acting on a public tip-off, the department’s enforcement team went to the area at 2am and found the suspects handing over all the birds to the smugglers to be sent by sea to Indonesia,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said that there were no arrests as the suspects had fled upon realising the presence of the enforcement team.

The Layang rest and service area near Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi, is believed to be used as a handing-over spot for wildlife because the area had many alternative exit routes to avoid enforcement authorities, he added.

Salman said that the white-rumped Sharma was in high demand in the neighbouring country and could be sold at between RM1,000 and RM2,000 each depending on its beauty and melodiousness of voice.

“The bird is protected under Section 60 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716).

“Anyone hunting or keeping protected wildlife can be fined not exceeding RM50,000 or jailed not more than two years or both, if guilty,” he said.

The Murai Batu (white-rumped Sharma) birds found in a cage at the Layang rest and service area of Senai-Desaru Highway. – BERNAMA