Malaysia arrests Vietnamese poachers, seizes tiger, bear parts

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar showing the tiger and bear parts seized from the Vietnamese poachers. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Authorities have arrested two suspected poachers from Vietnam and seized body parts from tigers and bears, as a crackdown on wildlife trafficking continues.

Malaysia is home to swathes of jungle and a kaleidoscope of rare creatures from elephants to orangutans and tigers, but they are frequently targeted by poachers.

Two Vietnamese men, aged 25 and 29, were arrested yesterday by a wildlife enforcement team in a national park in Terengganu, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

He said the men were in possession of claws and teeth from the Malayan tiger.

The species once roamed the jungles of Malaysia in the thousands but is now critically endangered, with just a small number believed left in the wild.

They also had teeth and claws from bears, teeth from wild boars, as well as hunting equipment including machetes, axes and wire for setting traps, Xavier said.

The two suspects have been remanded for three days to assist in the investigation, he said.

Tiger pelts are prized collectors’ items and fetch a high price on the black market, while many animals’ body parts are used in traditional medicines in several Asian countries, including Vietnam and China.