Endangered wildlife in Malaysia falls victim to rampant poaching due to ‘outdated’ laws
November 4, 2008
In the face of rampant poaching of endangered animals, conservationists are calling for Malaysia to reform its 36-year-old wildlife protection law.
Four environmental groups — Malaysian Nature Society, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society, and WWF-Malaysia — have launched a petition demanding that the Malaysian government improve and strengthen the country’s Protection of Wild Life Act 1972, which the NGOs call “severely outdated and riddled with loopholes”. The petition seeks 100,000 signatures by June 2009.
This female Bornean pygmy elephant was shot at least 13 times. Image courtesy of Siew Te Wong
“There is a serious need for the Malaysian government to remedy the loopholes and beef up the law, as many species continue to be poached and illegally traded at alarming rates,” states the petition. “Wildlife offenders often escape arrest, prosecution and punishment. We understand that the government is in the process of revising this law. However, we urge the government to seek public input in this process.”
The petition says the law should be amended to include bans on products containing parts of protected species as well as tougher sentences and fines for poachers and traffickers. Some conservationists have proposed restrictions on the use of snares which take a heavy — and indiscriminate — toll on wildlife, including threatened species like elephants, rhinos, pangolins, and sun bears.
While the law applies only to peninsular Malaysia, conservationists say it is likely that the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo will follow if wildlife protections are strengthened. Beyond hunting and poaching, Malaysia’s wildlife is threatened by large-scale forest loss driven by logging and the development of oil palm plantations.
An Interview with sun bear expert Siew Te Wong:
Habitat destruction, logging, wildlife trade drive sun bears toward extinction
September 25, 2008
Industrial logging, large-scale forest conversion for oil palm plantations, and the illegal wildlife trade have left sun bears the rarest species of bear on the planet. Recognizing their dire status, Siew Te Wong, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Montana, is working in Malaysia to save the species from extinction. Known as “Sun Bear Man” in some circles, Siew Te Wong is setting up the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. The project aims to save sun bears, which have largely overlooked by conservationists, through research, education, rehabilitation, and habitat conservation.
Siew Te Wong: We need your help to protect wildlife in Malaysia October 25, 2008
If you reading this blog, you are no doubt a bear lover, an animal lover, a naturalist, a biologist, a conservationist, or just a regular people who care about our nature, wildlife, and mother Earth. You cared, concerned, and I thank you for that. Now I would like to ask you for a favor. I am not asking you to donate money this time, but I would like to ask you to sign a petition that will help improve our wildlife law in Malaysia.