PETALING JAYA: Wildlife activists are preparing to file a suit in the Seremban High Court this week demanding a declaration from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) that the shooting of dusky leaf monkeys in Port Dickson last month was an illegal act.
On May 19, photos of the incident went viral with claims that officers from Perhilitan had killed 20 of the monkeys at the Seri Sentosa Education quarters area.
Perhilitan later denied the accusations, saying they had only killed seven monkeys which were aggressive and had frequently disturbed residents in the area. It said the culling only took place after attempts to capture the animals were unsuccessful.
Rajesh Nagarajan, founder of Lawyers for Animal Rights, told FMT they and other plaintiffs will be filing a suit against the agency after they failed to take action against the officers involved.
“There are many complaints made regularly against bodies in Malaysia that are supposed to protect animal rights. Many have been lackadaisical. Many have turned a blind eye. Some have even committed cruel acts against animals.
“The days when authorities can act with impunity and without regard to animal rights are over.”
The group had earlier called for Perhilitan to conduct an internal investigation and charge the officers responsible for the “massacre”.
“We will not hesitate to use all legal means available against such perpetrators for the purposes of defending animal rights in Malaysia.
“This is also a clarion call to all animal rights activists in Malaysia. Join us in enforcing animal rights. It is only a matter of time before Malaysia as a whole wakes up to the sorry state of animal welfare in the country.
“We will prevail in our fight for the creation of better protection, enforcement and safeguards for animals in Malaysia.”
It was previously reported that Perhilitan’s annual reports show that the practice of killing animals to aid in human-animal conflict resolution is not uncommon.
In 2018 alone, 53,687 long-tailed macaques were killed under the practice. Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature eventually downgraded the species from “least concerned” to “vulnerable”.
Experts say that reducing the population of the endangered dusky leaf monkeys, or spectacled langurs, could have a devastating effect on forests and surrounding communities.