MIRI: Owners of white-rumped shama, or burung murai batu, need to obtain a licence from the Forest Department due to the bird’s status as a protected species.
The department’s deputy controller of wildlife Engkamat Lading said there are still many burung murai batu owners who have yet to obtain a licence to rear the bird.
“In Sarawak, the bird species of burung murai batu is categorised as a protected species under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998.
“This year, the Forest Department has issued a total of 318 licences for the species,” he said in his address during Miri City 2017 Bird Singing Competition at Petronas Sports Village yesterday.
Under the ordinance, Engkamat said it was an offence to own and rear burung murai batu without a licence, adding that each licence costs RM10 per year.
“Under Section 29(2) of the ordinance, an unlicensed owner can be fined RM10,000 and sentenced to one year imprisonment upon conviction,” he stressed.
Additionally, he pointed out that owners who want to import or export the species have to apply for a permit, and that the bird must also obtain a health certificate from the Veterinary Services Department.
“Due to the increasing demand for this bird species in the market lately, our department has seized hundreds of burung murai batu and other bird species during attempts to smuggle these birds out of Sarawak.
“That is why there is a need for law enforcement otherwise this bird species might become extinct from our state.”
In an effort to monitor the sale of licensed birds, Engkamat said the Forest Department is also considering implementing the use of an identification tag with serial number for each burung murai batu.