Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – A Malaysian court has fined a man 50,000 ringgit (11,600 dollars) for possession of highly endangered Sunda clouded leopard, a wildlife official said Saturday.
Muhammad Rizduan Ibrahim, from the eastern state of Sabah, will face one year in jail if he fails to pay the fine, according to Sabah Wildlife Department director William Baya.
Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court handed down the decision against the 24-year-old wildlife trader on Friday, Baya added.
The judge allowed the accused to pay the fine in five installments, Baya said.
Police and wildlife officials arrested Muhammad Rizduan on July 25 at a parking lot in the town of Manggatal on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu and found in his possession the highly endangered Sunda clouded leopard.
Also known as Bornean clouded leopard, this medium-sized wild cat is found only in Borneo and Sumatra. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the species as vulnerable in 2008, with an estimated population of less than 10,000
Baya said the Muhammad Rizduan has been under surveillance by his office for more than four months on suspicion of trading illegally in wildlife before the arrest was made.