Archive for the ‘Law Enforcement’ Category

Snake Skin Smuggling Snicked

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Of growing concern in the wildlife world is the smuggling and welfare of snakes and other reptiles used to supply the luxury leather trade.  End users include Gucci, PradaMichael Kors and others.  Here is an example of how some are brought in from the wild…

Wild pythons brought in for skinning

Singapore, 31st August 2011—Authorities in Singapore today announced they have destroyed more than 800 reptile skins seized last year.

In September 2010, Singapore’s Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) seized five packages containing 470 Reticulated Python Python reticulatus and 363 Water Monitor Lizard Varanus salvator skins sent from Indonesia.

According to accompanying documentation, the shipment was bound for China, France, Switzerland and the USA via a courier service and had falsely been declared as synthetic leather.   Read More from TRAFFIC…

Malaysia’s Wildlife Department Incompetent?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

As the following column outlines, Malaysia’s Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) has missed yet another chance to address trafficking.  Of course, the word “miss” suggests failure to investigate was an accident.  It wasn’t.  Perhilitan leadership has consistently chosen not to investigate any major wildlife trafficker, including Anson. 

A golden chance lost

Posted on 15 August 2011 – 12:43am Azrina Abdullah 

WHAT can I say about our Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan)? I like to consider myself an optimist but statements made more than a month ago by a convicted wildlife courier demonstrate yet again the department’s apathy and lack of common investigative sense. After winning much praise for the closure of Saleng Zoo in June, Perhilitan shot itself in the foot.

A Malagasy woman, Sarah, who was convicted of smuggling tortoises from Madagascar into Malaysia last year, claimed that Anson Wong, an international wildlife smuggler serving a five-year term in Kajang prison, paid her to smuggle those critters.

At the news conference held in June there was mention of an officer in blue uniform who took around 20 of the seized tortoises and placed them in his desk drawer in KLIA before handing the rest over as evidence.

A number of NGOs also asked why Perhilitan never attempted to meet the Malagasy woman to investigate her contacts in Malaysia. An interview with her could have possibly exposed other illegal traders in the country.

Now Sarah has returned to Madagascar and a golden opportunity has slipped by.

Sarah and another Malagasy woman were the first to be convicted under the International Trade of Endangered Species Act 2008. You would think Perhilitan would be interested in who the two women were working for, who paid for their travels and who their buyer was.

The list of questions that can be asked is mind boggling but the department did nothing. To make matters worse, the press conference made the front page of a national newspaper in Madagascar, giving yet another black eye to Malaysia’s face.

Too much has been said about what the department should and could be doing but the priority now is the effectiveness of its top management. They should either buck up or be replaced. The department needs a leader that can instil confidence in the public on the department’s commitment to reduce the illegal trade in wildlife and work towards making Malaysia an exemplary country for the right reasons.

Hoping that the story will go away is not an option. Lip service seems to be the norm and the director-general and minister appear to do a lot of the talking and not so much of the walking. There will be reminders time and time again to Perhilitan on what action they have taken on the information revealed by Sarah. Please spare us the run-of-the-mill response which sounds like a broken record – “action will be taken and investigations are underway”. The concerned public deserve better.

Azrina Abdullah was regional director of Traffic, an NGO which monitors the global wildlife trade. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

Madagascar Further Exposes Malaysia Wildlife Trafficking Pipeline

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

 

L’Express in Madagascar further exposes the link among Anson Wong and other Malaysian wildlife traffickers plundering Madagascar in this front page story today: