By Sean Whyte [Admin note: Perhilitan is the colloquial name for Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks.\
As I began writing late yesterday, news broke of a container containing two tons of ivory from Malaysia having been confiscated in Vietnam. Yet another shameful episode incriminating Malaysia in the disgusting and highly illegal ivory trade. Where, or rather who, did this ivory come from?
With the above now in mind, Perhilitan, with its self inflicted atrocious reputation for double standard, wants us to believe them when they claim to have accounted for all the confiscated ivory. Why should we? No one I know trusts them and that’s just a fact of life.
Once again, to try and deflect honest public concern, Perhilitan resort to intimidation and threats of legal action. If only they would make the same threats to illegal wildlife traders and owners of all those zoos currently and blatantly breaking the law.
If Perhilitan were ever to show up at a zoo or pet shop as a result of a public complaint, would the officers accept the owners claims of ‘I’m innocent sir and you will find nothing wrong on my premises’ and just walk away or, would they want to look for themselves? Admittedly, what they would do is debatable, but we all know what they should do – not accept the word of the accused and check independently for themselves.
Whether or not confiscated ivory has been misappropriated is a matter of genuine public concern. Indeed, it is a matter being keenly watched internationally, as is self evident.
If TRAFFIC finds all the ivory is present and correct it can only help Perhilitan’s image, so again I ask, what’s the problem with an independent audit? Imagine the good to come from it if all the ivory is accounted for.
The audit would be free, unbiased and the facts will be out in the open. It’s not much to ask, so why do Perhilitan issue threats and not for the first time? More....