Malaysian kept honey bear, leopard cat in condo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - December 7, 2009


Officials acting on a tip discovered the endangered species at the 25-year-old woman's apartment in a Kuala Lumpur city high-rise in a raid Friday, said Mohammad Khairi Ahmad, deputy director of the Selangor state Wildlife Department.

The animals, worth hundreds of dollars on the black market, were apparently kept as pets because the cage for the slow loris - a lemur-like animal - was equipped with swings.

Initial investigations showed the animals were bought from indigenous tribes in southern Negeri Sembilan state about three months ago, Khairi told The Associated Press. The department will get a court order to send the animals to a zoo or release them back to the wild, he said.

The woman, who has been released on bail, claimed her male cousin was the owner of the animals and authorities are now searching for him, Khairi said. Both could be charged for keeping endangered wildlife without permit. They could be jailed for up to two years and fined for each animal, he said.

Khairi said the honey baby bear could fetch about 5,000 ringgit ($1,471) on the black market, while the leopard cat and the slow loris were worth about 500 ringgit ($147) each.

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