SEREMBAN: Activists from Lawyers for Animal Rights disagree that Wildlife and National Parks Department officers had acted in good faith when they shot and killed seven protected dusky langurs in Port Dickson.
Lawyers Rajesh Nagarajan and Sachpreetraj Singh said there was no justification for the culling of the shy leaf-eating species protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and categorised as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and it appears on its Red List of Threatened Species.
They said Perhilitan’s claim that it was allowed to cull the primates, as there was a provision under section 52 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, was not justified.
“Residents in the area have also rebutted Perhilitan’s claim that efforts had been made to trap the dusky langurs (before they were culled).
“It must be further probed if Perhilitan had actually carried out a proper investigation to verify if the dusky langurs had actually attacked members of the public as alleged, ” the statement said, adding that the primates had been living in that area for years.
They also asked if Perhilitan officers could have made other efforts before culling the seven during an operation on May 19.
Section 52 of the Act among others states that a Perhilitan officer, acting in good faith, can exercise his powers to hunt any wildlife if it poses a danger to human life or property.
“Perhilitan also needs to determine if the alleged attacks were due to provocation on the part of the public or other factors such as habitat or food loss and destruction.
“It also needs to establish if it is in the nature of the dusky langur to interact or even attack humans, ” they said.
On Tuesday, Perhilitan said it was forced to cull the seven adult dusky langur – also known as lotong – as these primates had caused serious injuries to humans on three occasions this year.
It said all seven were aggressive and had to be put down after attempts to trap or relocate them failed.
To ensure public safety, the department had conducted several operations to chase the lotong away, according to Perhilitan.
Efforts had also been made to trap and relocate them but they were unable to trap the aggressive group, it was claimed.
It also dismissed reports on social media that the 20 primates were shot and killed in the operation at Batu 2, Jalan Pantai.
It said the most serious incident was reported on Jan 21 when a woman was bitten.
The victim suffered serious injuries to her head and had to be warded at the Port Dickson Hospital.