Probe on why pangolins not detected
PENANG: The state Wildlife and National Parks Department is baffled how a cargo of pangolins and freshwater turtles left Penang airport undetected.
Its director Hasnan Yusop said all live exports would be checked whether they were a protected species or otherwise.
?We have close co-operation with other departments to monitor quarantine activities at ports and the airport.
?I need to investigate this case before making further comment,? he said in an interview yesterday.
He was commenting on newspaper reports that Thai authorities had thwarted another attempt at wildlife smuggling when they seized a cargo of pangolins and freshwater turtles that arrived at Bangkok airport from Penang on Monday morning.
The shipment, from a Thai Airways flight, included 245 pangolins, 63 black marsh turtles (Siebenrockiella crassicollis) and one Malayan snail-eating turtle (Malayemys subtrijuga).
All three species are protected under Appendix II of the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) but the shipment of 60 crates did not have any CITES document or permit.
Thailand protects all the three species but Malaysia protects only the pangolins under the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972.
Hasnan said his department suspected that the smugglers were now using the ?air route? after failed attempts via land.
He said there was a possibility that the agent had declared that the shipment did not include protected species.?But it has always been a practice to check thoroughly despite declarations that the cargo contains pets or unprotected animals. We still need to counter check to curb smuggling,? he said.