Smugglers’ boatload of wildlife
ROMPIN: Marine police foiled an attempt to smuggle out about 12 tonnes of exotic animals using a fishing boat in Tanjung Gemuk near here on Saturday.
Two suspects, in their 40s and 50s, were arrested while they were busy transferring 18 boxes containing live and dead animals from a lorry onto a boat at an old jetty about 3am. Among the animals and their parts seized were sunbear, monitor lizards and owls.
Marine police Region 3 Operation division head Deputy Superintendent Mohd Hassan Hasyim said investigations showed the suspects had brought the exotic animals from Tanjung Malim.
“They planned to load the animals into the fishing boat before transferring the consignment into another vessel at sea.
“We believe that the animals were destined for a neighbouring country to be sold at restaurants there,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Hassan said it was the first of such case this year and the Marine police would hand over the seized animals and parts to the Wildlife and National Parks Department.
Wong’s notes: There is no doubt that wildlife smuggling in Malaysia is on the rise. Each of the wildlife smuggling that police seized represent a tip of an iceberg. If immediate and effective actions to stop wildlife poaching and smuggling are not taken soon, the rainforest in Malaysia will soon join the list of “empty forests syndrome.”
Empty Forest Syndrome?
Read more about it at http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0118-hance_hunting.html
Here is what was written by WCS about the bushmeat crisis in Congo Basin, Africa.:
Empty Forest Syndrome
Hunting can still be sustain able where human population density is low, and where law enforcement authorities, or other management systems, control the quantity of meat exported to urban areas.However, as industrial activities such as logging open up previously inaccessible areas of the forest through the construction of roads, and population density grows in logging villages and urban centers, the demand for bushmeat increases, making sustainable exploitation of wildlife nearly impossible. This not only threatens wildlife populations but also the livelihoods and food security of the traditional peoples that depend on them.
Although deforestation poses a significant threat to the survival of the forested landscapes in the Congo Basin, many scientists are now agreed that it is the bushmeat trade that is the greatest threat to the ecosystem. Not only does unsustainable hunting leave the forest empty of wildlife, but the plant-animal interactions that facilitate forest regeneration and maintenance are lost.
Wong’s notes: Interestingly, the situation described above sound familiar to what I saw in Borneo and other part Malaysia and Indonesia. Ironically the authority in Malaysia always denies and shies away from the topic of wildlife poaching and smuggling. IF in the future when we hear less on the news reports on the wildlife poaching and smuggling, perhaps it is not because of the authority has done a good job to prevent such crime from happening, but the wildlife population in the country has been wiped out to the brinks of extinction. I hope I am wrong.
Malaysia Ministry denies allegation of wildlife smuggling
MARAN, Tues: Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has denied allegations that Malaysia is the world’s largest wildlife smuggling centre. He said the government would not compromise on the smuggling of wildlife and had taken stern action against culprits who committed such offences.
“We admit that such an activity exists, but we always take stern action against the culprits,” he told reporters after launching the Rakan Alam Sekitar campaign here today.
He was commenting on a recent report in an English daily that Malaysia had become the world’s largest wildlife smuggling centre.
Kurup said amendments to the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 were being drafted to provide heavier penalties against those who committed offences related to wildlife and national parks. — BERNAMA