Malaysia saves lizards, owls from the cooking pot

Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:12am EST
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Malaysian authorities have seized exotic dead and live animals, worth about $830,000 and including Malayan porcupines and pythons, that were destined for the cooking pot, a newspaper said on Thursday.

Among the animals were 7,000 clouded monitor lizards, 1,000 owls, crested serpent eagles, mousedeer, wild pigs and pangolins, which are not endangered but protected by law. The authorities also recovered bear parts.

A 49-year old man, who kept dead animals in several freezers and live ones in the backyard of his house in the southern state of Johor, had been charged, the Star newspaper said.

Abd Rasid Samsudin, the head of Malaysia's Wildlife and National Parks department, said the animals fetched high prices at restaurants in China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The meats, cooked with herbs, could fetch as much as 300 ringgit ($83.57) a bowl, he said.

(Reporting by Varsha Tickoo; Editing by Miral Fahmy)