JOHOR BARU - A boat carrying protected song birds worth about RM100,000 (S$39,964.17), was detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in the waters off Teluk Ramunia in Pengerang, Johor on Wednesday.
The vessel was stopped by MMEA enforcement personnel at 11.25am and they found more than 150 protected white-rumped sharma (or commonly called burung murai batu) packed in plastic baskets.
MMEA southern region operation director, Maritime Captain Ibrahim Mohamed said a agency boat on routine patrol had spotted the boat which then sped off.
"We managed to stop the boat after a 10-minute chase at about 1.5 nautical miles south-east from Teluk Ramunia," he said yesterday.
On inspection, the agency's personnel found 16 plastic baskets filled with more than 150 protected song birds.
The white-rumped sharma is a protected bird species and it is an offence to be in possession without proper documentation.
The birds, which are prized as song birds in Malaysia, can fetch up to RM600 per bird depending on their size.
Ibrahim said investigations revealed that the boat from Pasir Gudang and en-route to Penggerang when it was intercepted by the MMEA patrol.
A local man, in his 40s, was detained. The suspect did not have any documents or permits for the birds.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.