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Malaysia’s illegal wildlife trade thriving unhindered

May 15, 2015

Until Perhilitan takes the wildlife trade seriously, it will continue to grow and prosper to the detriment of the animals involved

FMT LETTERS

haiwan-liar_600From: Sean Whyte via e-mail

In the last month alone, custom’s authorities in India confiscated over 360 tortoise and turtles in two separate shipments en route to Malaysia.

This shocking number represents just the tip of the iceberg and many more of these endangered species doubtless reached Malaysia undetected.

For years Nature Alert and Malaysian Friends of the Animals have been reporting on seeing illegal tortoises in Malaysian pet shops. To the best of our knowledge Perhilitan ignored all reports. Certainly they never acknowledge them.

Until Perhilitan takes the wildlife trade seriously, it will continue to grow and prosper. It’s obvious, isn’t it? Criminals thrive and multiply when law enforcement is weak, don’t they?

Unless the demand for wildlife as pets is discouraged, the poaching of them will continue. Do you agree?

In this regard, zoos and wildlife parks could and should do a lot more to discourage people from wanting to own birds and animals they see in a zoo. MAZPA (Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria) needs to set a good example, but will it?

Compounding the sheer numbers of wildlife on sale in Malaysia, is the buyers’ lack of knowledge of how to care for their new pet parrot, tortoise, snake or whatever it is they desire. This usually results in the animal’s slow, painful and premature death. Who in their right mind thinks it is a good idea, through ignorance, to slowly and painfully kill wild birds or other animals in their homes?

Wildlife traders continue to ship tortoise, turtles and other species to Malaysia because they believe their chances of getting caught are virtually nil, and they are not wrong.

When did you last hear of a wildlife trader being arrested?

These criminals must surely believe that either they can deceive Malaysian customs and wildlife authorities or, they have someone in government employment on their side and in their pockets, mustn’t they? Shocking, isn’t it?

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again now. Perhilitan is a part of, if not the problem, when they should be part of the solution. A shameful situation and it’s been this way for as long as I can remember.

Sean Whyte is CEO of Nature Alert


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