By Victoria Brown
Illegal wildlife trade in Malaysia may be rampant, but we should work to plug gaps in enforcement rather than concede defeat. HUSKS being sawed off, tigers being skinned, bears kept in captivity to harvest bile, and endangered animals being eating by humans.
Wildlife poaching and trade is becoming a huge problem in Malaysia.
I spoke to the Southeast Asia regional director of wildlife protection NGO Traffic Dr Chris Shepherd and he told me that Malaysia plays an important role in the global wildlife trade.
Malaysia is not only a source of exotic wildlife to be sold off in the black market, but we are also a consumer of illegal wildlife items, and transit point for several poachers around the world.
“Tigers are being poached all over Malaysia. Malaysia is also a source for pangolins, freshwater turtles and many more, for both the domestic market and export. Sambar deers are also being poached in a serious way which is mostly used for local consumption at the local restaurants,” said Shepherd.
The illegal slaughter of these animals have already caused banteng (wild cattle) and rhinos to be extinct in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Tigers are dwindling, and that’s sad because Malaysia really has a chance to keep its tigers. We will lose them if we don’t change,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd says that there is no excuse for the senseless drop in our wildlife population.
“The only reason it happened was because there wasn’t enough effort to protect them. The habitat is still there,” he said.
“There’s enough habitat to have over a thousand tigers for example, they’re just getting emptied out,” said Shepherd.
It is estimated that less than 500 tigers can be found in the wild in Malaysia. “Everything is in decline. It’s very depressing that we’re losing so much wildlife so fast. Even though people know about this, the most depressing thing is that so little is being done,” said Shepherd.
The worse thing is that these illegal items harvested by poachers are relatively easy to find in Malaysia. More....