SFC Controller of Wildlife, Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said wildlife that were native species in Sarawak would also be under threat from exotic species, usually brought in illegally to be kept as pets.
“If (these animals) are being imported illegally, they will not be passing through veterinary or public health checks and may be harbouring unknown viruses or other pathogens that could potentially proliferate in pet shops and homes in Sarawak,” he said in a statement issued by SFC.
He said that when these exotic pets were released into Sarawak’s forests and waterways, they could deprive the local species of food sources, with some being more aggressive to outcompete the local species and this could cause major declines of native species.
“Major decreases in the range of munias (birds) are caused by the exotic Eurasian Tree Sparrow, common or Indian mynas displacing native birds, and the proliferation of the American bullfrog in our gardens, displacing our kampung grass frog (Fejervarya limnocharis),” he added.
Zolkipli said SFC would continue to work with the various border control agencies, such as the Royal Malaysian Customs Department to stop the smuggling of these exotic species into the state.
He said seizures would be made at the border control areas such as airports, ports, customs checkpoints and also pet stores that do not have licences or permits.
“In the next six months, SFC will tag legal, licensed exotic wild animals in the state, and invest in veterinary health checks on these animals,” he added.