Pix of a man with highly endangered clouded leopard.

Pix of a man with highly endangered clouded leopard.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here ordered a self-employed man to pay a maximum fine of RM50,000 for being in possession of an endangered clouded leopard.

Muhd Rizduan Ibrahim, 24, was charged on July 30 for having the clouded leopard at a car park area in the Sulaman Central shoplots here at 9.30pm on July 25.

Rizduan, who was represented by counsel Mohd Ari Nadzrah, had pleaded not guilty to the charge and the prosecution called seven witnesses during the course of the trial.

Following the conviction by judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad, prosecuting officer Augustine Tuuga of the Sabah Wildlife Department asked the court to impose a deterrent sentence as a measure to protect Sabah’s wildlife.

Augustine said the young clouded leopard had lost its instinct to survive in the wild when it was kept by Rizduan.

He said the incident meant that there was one less clouded leopard in the wild, making the species more endangered.

Augustine said a deterrent sentence was also necessary as the department was facing difficulties in tracking down poachers and wildlife smugglers who carried out their trade through social media such as Facebook.

In mitigation, Mohd Ari told the court that his client had three dependents to look after. — The Star