Pensioner held for rearing porcupines

SHAH ALAM: A pensioner was arrested for rearing porcupines without a permit at his house, believed for the “magical properties of their stones”.
Wildlife officers arrested the man, who is in his 50s, on Tuesday and seized 13 porcupines kept in cages at his home at Jalan Kuang in Rawang as well as some frozen meat and a four-day-old carcass of the wild animal.

Selangor Wildlife and National Parks Department deputy director Mohammad Khairi Ahmad said the man had constructed the cages to rear the porcupines he caught from the nearby oil palm estates and secondary forest.

“Our officers went to the house following a tip-off and found that he has no permit to rear the animals,” he said, adding that animals were especially prized for their bezoar stones.
Bezoar is a mass of food, usually from consuming grass and herbs, found trapped in the animals’ stomach system and is long used in Chinese traditional medicine.

“Porcupine meat is high in protein and this wild porcupine is known for its bezoar stone, said to be able to cure dengue fever and flu,” he said, adding that some medicinal shops in Klang sell these for up to RM700 for a mere 0.38g, which would then be used as tonic for flu.
In another case, a civil servant in his 30s was arrested for keeping eight porcupines and an Asian palm civet — known locally as musang pulut — in Kampung Bukit

Tempurung also in Rawang.
Wildlife officers also arrested a pet shop owner in Section 24 here recently and seized six pythons from its premises.

All three men arrested will be charged under Section 68 of the Wildlife Protection Act which carries a fine not more than RM3,000 or a three-year jail term.

Friday December 18, 2009

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