PETALING JAYA: The wildlife and national parks department (Perhilitan) has explained the use of puppies as live bait in an operation to capture a wild panther in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, last month.
Perhilitan director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hassan stressed that no puppies were harmed in the operation, and that all SOPs were complied with.
He said Perhilitan would generally use live goats as bait to capture wild tigers and panthers, but that did not work this time around.
“We tried baiting the panther with a live goat but with no success.
“In this particular case, there was indication that the panther had attacked dogs so we used the puppies for their barking and scent to attract the panther,” he told FMT, adding that panthers would only fall into traps that contain the animals they usually prey on.
According to Kadir, the department had to resort to puppies as it was unable to fit an adult dog into the trap.
He also said the puppies were released from the cage as soon as the panther was captured.
Kadir explained that the cage used for trapping the panther had a different opening which allowed the live bait to be extracted quickly once the targeted wild animal found its way into the trap.
On Sept 18, Sinar Harian reported that four families at Kampung Ulu Beting in Kuala Pilah were relieved after a panther which frequented the area was captured by Perhilitan.
Residents told the Malay daily the use of three puppies had finally succeeded after attempts were made over a week to capture the panther.
It was previously reported that several residents were shocked when they spotted a panther in front of their homes. Earlier, two dogs that used to guard their farms were missing after being attacked by a panther.
NGO Persatuan Haiwan Terbiar (SAFM) had raised concern over the department’s use of live puppies as bait.
SAFM president R Kalaivanan said it would be more “humane” and “ethical” to use raw meat from goats, chicken, cows or turkeys compared to live puppies.
Kalaivanan also urged the veterinary services department (DVS) to investigate the incident.
Asked why raw meat was not used, Kadir said it is standard procedure to use live bait as that is what attracts wild animals.
FMT has also reached out to DVS for comment.