The Star 22.06.2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Ample warning had been given to Saleng Zoo before the animals were seized by wildlife authorities, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.
In disputing claims by the zoo's management that it was not given proper notice of their wrongdoings or advise on how to improve its management and welfare for the animals, he said;
“We had taken all the necessary steps. If it was a rushed act, we could have done so a lot earlier, but we must follow proper procedure.”
Uggah had told the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to take action against the zoo under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 on June 8.
“If it looks like we were not taking action, it was only because there was a lot of planning involved leading up to the operation,” said Uggah in a press conference after opening the 11th Southeast Asian Survey and 13th International Surveyors' Congress here, Wednesday
Perhilitan spearheaded the rescue mission, and involved about 80 personnel led by Department deputy director-general Dr Zaaba Zainal Abidin.
The officers used blowtorches and metal cutters to cut through cages to remove the animals while tranquillisers were used to sedate the larger wild animals.
According to the department, 69 animals including tapirs, panthers and sun bears had been seized as of 12.30pm on the second day of the operation, on Tuesday.
“One of the issues we had to address before taking action was to determine a place to rehabilitate the animals and make sure they're put into a better location,” Uggah said.
The animals would be relocated in five locations including Malacca Zoo, Paya Indah Wetlands, Zoo Negara, Taiping Zoo and the Temerloh Perhilitan holding area.