Authorities pass responsibility for decision to destroy confiscated animals

Confusion surrounds the decision to destroy over 120 animals confiscated by authorities last weekend, with both police and the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) denying responsibility for the move.

With initial media reports today suggesting that the Maldives Police Service (MPS) had “executed” the animals, an official spokesman revealed that custody of the animals had been handed to the MNDF on Sunday, just hours after their seizure.

MNDF Captain Ali Ihusaan subsequently confirmed that all of the animals had been put down on the request of the MPS.

“The animals that were being handed over to the Ministry of Defence and National Security were being handed over in order to get rid of them, and we have established procedures and processes that we go through in order to take care of them and we have gone through that process on the day they were handed over to MNDF,” said Ihusaan.

These claims were promptly rejected by the police, however, who denied having asked the MNDF to terminate the animals.

“The information you have received is not right, we didn’t actually request from the MNDF to put them down,” said a police spokesperson who said he had been unable to contact his MNDF counterpart to clarify the conflicting account.

The spokesman went on to suggest that the responsibility for the transfer of the animals lay with the customs department, stating that the legal rationale for the decision could be explained by customs authorities.

“What we did was was request customs to take over those confiscated animals, to take the animals under their custody. So they requested us to hand over those animals to the MNDF,” said the MPS spokesman.

“Under customs regulations it is not allowed to bring those animals to Maldives. We requested them to take over the case, to take these animals to their custody”.

“I think it is because customs is run under Ministry of Defence, which might explain that decision”.

Minivan News was unable to contact customs officials at the time of press.

EPA deeply concerned

Meanwhile, news of the animals’ termination has prompted an outcry, with groups reportedly gathering outside of the Environment Ministry.

A group of protesters have assembled outside the children’s park in Malé – home to a captive crocodile – in opposition to the move, with one placard reading:  “Stop killing animals against the law and regulations”.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has taken to Twitter to denounce the decision.

“People’s beloved pets should not be killed just like that. Necessary regulations could be made,” tweeted Nasheed.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whom the police have previously said were being consulted on the animal’s care, have expressed concern.

“As an organisation responsible for the protection and well being of all these creatures, we are not happy with killing or doing anything lethal to any of the animals. That is something that we are deeply concerned about,” said Director General of the EPA Ibrahim Naeem.

Naeem denied having been consulted over the care and maintenance of the confiscated animals.

The animals – including 11 iguanas, a snake, a sugar glider (possum), an owl, a squirrel, and 105 rats – were taken by police in an operation to tackle the number of illegal pets last weekend.

The scale of the problem has become apparent as the police have embarked on a campaign to tackle the nation’s endemic narcotics problems, with a series of exotic creatures increasingly featuring in the lists of items seized during raids.

In a joint operation with multiple branches of the government, the police revealed that animals were to be confiscated “so that the legality of their presence in the country can be assessed,” read a police statement.

Customs regulations list dogs and dangerous animals as prohibited from import, while other live animals entering the country are required to have valid sanitary certificates.

The regulation on importing live animals specifies that the procedure for handling animals considered wild or dangerous includes consultation with the Fisheries Ministry and the MNDF, as well as the production of a report, before repatriation or extermination.

When asked if the police had allowed relevant time for owners to produce the necessary certificates before the animals were destroyed, Minivan News was again referred to the customs department.

The EPA’s Ibrahim also condemned those who bring such animals into the country, saying that they should share some of the blame for the animals’ fate.

“We don’t expect these animals in the Maldives. I condemn those who import those who import them to Maldives, they should actually take the responsibility.”

Authorities have confirmed that the endangered slow loris – confiscated during an earlier police operation – was not amongst the destroyed animals. The EPA is currently discussing the potential repatriation of the animal with interested parties.


9 thoughts on “Authorities pass responsibility for decision to destroy confiscated animals”

  1. Wasn't it EPA that first suggested euthanizing the slow loris, and now suddenly they're against euthanasia?

    Sabahey kaley menna. Majlis membarun party badhalu vaa hen kaleymenge angain nukunna bas thah ves ehaa avahah badhalu vey

  2. Poisonous snakes and spiders are extremely dangerous to the unprepared community of the Mordis.

    Bites from some species require immediate anti-venom, and ICU caring. Which, simply we don't have.

    Don't be under the illusion that we Mordisians, can enjoy pets like these. We cannot. Atleast not at the moment.

    Mordis is an island nation. A third world country with bare minimum medical facilities. Mostly fake medicines at that. On the other hand, being a under-developed country has also its benefits in that, the public could just as quickly, drop irresponsible cases, like the AIDS case, and in future, python constricted deaths, cobra bitten cases...The only comment from the owners / responsible parties would then be 'sorry, i didnt know that would happen'.

    Not to worry though. As you can see, even the taxi drivers-team is also a Ministerial team. It all depends on how much froth you can make in the political arena, and how close you are to the next elections.

  3. Take comfort in the fact that as unfortunate as the situation is, death is probably better than the treatment these pets were getting from their owners. And captivity at the hands of any government agency would certainly be even worse. The "captive crocodile" can attest to that.

  4. Naeembe please know that we will hold you responsible for your words and actions and the consequences it leads to.
    As a man we respected once upon a time do take care.

  5. and police and mps. Please take care of some real problems in the society. Murder, Muggings, Rape, Robberies, Pedophiles, pirates etc. Unless you are in support of these things. Which I suspect you do

  6. The case highlights the profound ignorance of regulation in Maldives, especially by the naive agriculture ministry.

    In a fragile Eco system like the Maldives, animal quarantine should be well regulated. But the regulator has easily escaped blame for all the alien animals imported into the country

    Try importing a live plant or animal to Australia and to understand how quarantine regulations work and powerful the authorities are

    For decades Maldives agriculture ministry has been corrupting Maldives sensitive Eco system due to failing to regulate. The story does not end there. Still there is no regulation or restriction on the amount of pesticides to be used too

    The Agricultre regulatory mandate has been neglected by all ministers who has nothing on their mind except attending trivial fisheries conferences in Europe and playing politics with fisherman using state companies

    All these are related, common thread being neglect, incompetence and corruption of the agriculture and fisheries sector

  7. ... Customs and MNDF did their job well. It's the animal quarantine authority that was sleeping on the job

  8. Proper planning and coordination was obviously not place before confiscation began.

  9. the animals are just walking in the street under the influence of drugs. why not capture them.


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