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  Yahoo News 10 Jul 07
Malaysia rescues 950 monkeys taken by poachers

PlanetArk 10 Jul 07
Malaysia Seizes 900 Monkeys From Wildlife Poachers

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has smashed a ring of wildlife smugglers and seized more than 900 poached monkeys destined for China or the Netherlands in what officials called their biggest seizure involving the animals so far, media said.

Wildlife officials arrested four men after finding the long-tailed macaques confined in cages and sacks during a raid on a plantation in the southern state of Johor, the state news agency Bernama said on Monday.

"We believe the monkeys would end up as food in China, where they are said to be an aphrodisiac, and for laboratory studies in Holland," wildlife official Celescoriano Razond, who led the raid, told reporters.

A heap of more than 100 dead monkeys was also found nearby.

All belonged to the Macaca fascicularis species, which is native to southeast Asia, and prefers forested areas near water, where it lives off fruit and small animals such as frogs or crabs. Males are taller and heavier than females, with larger canine teeth, but both sexes have tails ranging between about 1 foot (0.3 m) and 2 ft (0.7 m) and usually exceeding the length of their bodies, says the Web site of the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Some of the starving animals in Malaysia had started eating their newborn offspring in desperation or had hurt each other in fights. "This is highly unusual behaviour among monkeys because they are very protective of each other," Razond, who led Saturday's raid, was quoted by the Star newspaper as saying.

The confiscated monkeys, which are worth about 50,000 ringgit (US$14,540) on the black market, would be released in stages in protected forest reserves across the nation in order to prevent them being recaptured, Razond added.

Three of the four men arrested face charges under wildlife protection laws but the fourth, an Indonesian whose visa had expired, was handed over to immigration authorities.
(US$1=3.439 Malaysian Ringgit)

Yahoo News 10 Jul 07
Malaysia rescues 950 monkeys taken by poachers

Malaysian wildlife officials rescued 950 monkeys taken by poachers and destined for cooking pots in China and laboratories in the Netherlands, a report said Tuesday.

Wildlife officials also arrested four men aged between 32 and 51, including an Indonesian, after discovering some of the long-tailed macaques in tiny cages in a plantation in southern Johor state.

Celesoriano Razond, the deputy director of the law and enforcement unit, said the monkeys were caught in central Pahang state and Johor.

"The primates had been caught in the wild and were to be smuggled to restaurants in China and laboratories in Holland ...," the New Straits Times newspaper said. The report described the seizure of the monkeys as the biggest so far.

Officials said the primates are expected to be treated and freed into the wild. The monkeys would have fetched 380,000 ringgit (110,465 dollars) on the black market.

Dubbed the "monkey farm" by the plantation's operators, the monkeys were crammed into small cages and starved to the point that they were resorting to cannibalism, the report said.

Some of the monkeys were seen chewing the bloody stumps of their wrists while some had taken to eating the carcasses of their infants. There were also at least 100 rotting dead monkeys, according to the dispatch.

In the northern Perlis state, bordering Thailand, enforcement officials on Saturday foiled an attempt to smuggle slaughtered exotic animals, including 15 monitor lizards, for restaurants in Thailand.

On April 26 the Malaysian authorities caught an Indian national for attempting to smuggle 385 endangered Indian Star tortoises at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Wildlife officials said in May that criminal gangs were using Malaysia as a hub for exporting millions of dollars worth of wildlife for the Chinese market.

The officials said trafficking of wildlife had hit alarming levels in Malaysia, which also played the role of source and consumer.

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