Animal rights group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia have criticized the Wildlife Department for using puppies as live bait to capture black panthers frightening residents in a nearby village.
According to EuroNews, the department defended their position, stating earlier attempts to lure the panthers using a goat as bait failed. Director General Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim published a report, however stating the puppies had not been physically harmed in the procedure.
In ths particular case, there was indication that the panther had attacked dogs so we used the puppies for their barking and scent to attract the panther.Wild Life Department statement
It had been a panther that had mauled the dog of a farmer in one of the villages at a fruit orchard on September 4 that brought the Wildlife Department to install traps for the big cats. Three panthers were captured.
The operation, however drew world wide controversy after the news of using puppies as bait, and the Malaysian Animal Welfare Association statements went viral. The organization stated it would have been more ethical for the department to have used raw cattle meat for bait.
In their own defense, the Wild Life Department explained that the trap, which was a cage with a separate compartment holding the puppies, was quickly able to be released once the panther was caught, and that the puppies were never in any real danger.
Since the beginning of the year, at least a dozen panthers from the forest reserve had wandered out and have been caught. Black panthers are solitary animals that hunt at night and are a threatened species.
Animal rights groups continue to appeal to the government to use other means. There has yet to be a response.