Man caught rearing porcupines in cages

Demand for the meat of the porcupine and bezoar stones from its gall-bladder is so high that a government pensioner has been rearing them in cages at his home in Rawang.
People who believe that the bezoar stones of porcupines can cure dengue fever and flu have been his customers, along with outlets serving exotic wildlife dishes.

Acting on a tip-off, enforcment officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks raided the pensioner’s house on Tuesday.

They seized 13 porcupines and cleaned porcupine meat kept in a freezer together with a carcass of a baby porcupine believed kept to be boiled for soup.
Selangor Wildlife and National Parks Department deputy director Mohammad Khairi Ahmad said man had no permit to rear the animals.

He said the pensioner, who is in his 50’s, built more than 50 cages to rear the porcupines which he caught from the nearby oil palm estates and forested areas around Rawang.
Medicinal shops in Klang sell porcupine bezoar stones for as much as RM700 for a mere 0.38 grams. One stone the average size of a marble could fetch RM25,000. Customers from China snap up most of the stones.

Mohammad Khairi said porcupine carcasses are sold at RM400, adding that most of the time the animal is butchered and the meat sold at RM80 per kg. “For example if one porcupine is about 25 months-old, its meat alone could weigh eight kilos. So, there is more cash to be made if the animal is cut up and its meat is sold,” he said.

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Meanwhile, in the same district, another civil servant in his 30s was arrested for keeping eight porcupines and one civet known to locals as Musang Pulut (paradoxurus hermaphrodites).
In another case officers of the Wildlife department raided the Aqua 24 Pet Cage, Pet, Accessory and Exotic Pet shop in Section 24, Dataran Usahawan here and seized three African Ball Pythons, two Burmese Pythons and one Reticulated Python.

The owner was arrested.

Mohammad said the department would get a court order to release the porcupines animals to the Sungai Dusun Wildlife Reserve in Kuala Kubu Baru.
All three arrested will be charged under Section 68, of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (Act 76) under which the maximum fine is not more than RM3,000 or a three-year jail term or both.
Published Dec 17 2009

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