Archive for the ‘Bullshit’ Category

Where’s the Beef, Dr. Singh?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

For a window on why Malaysia ranks among the world’s leading wildlife trafficking hubs one may read this letter today by Amerjit Singh spokesperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment published in The Star .  Dr. Singh’s letter comes in response to last week’s Star article on my Academy of Sciences Malaysia talk (“Malaysia a Hub for Wildlife Smuggling“).  Everyone familiar with the illegal wildlife trade knows that certain officials in Malaysia have stalled updating the wildlife law Dr. Amerjit Singh refers to, giving bureaucrats like him the chance to agree there is a problem, say they are doing something about it, and then sit back and watch as illegal wildlife continues to flow through Malaysia. 

Readers of this blog know that Amerjit Singh has issued several defenses like this one in the past few months.  Here he demonstrates he doesn’t have any idea what the problem is (he thinks it is only protection of local species in Peninsular Malaysia).  Worse, his simplistic responses without any meaningful action insult the Malaysian people.  Here’s today’s:

The Star
January 29, 2009

Beefing up efforts to protect wildlife

I REFER to “Malaysia A Hub For Wildlife Smuggling” (The Star, Jan 19).
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) agrees that smuggling activities are a threat to the conservation of our wildlife and it acts sternly to curb any attempts.
The DWNP together with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry (NRE) are in the midst of amending the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972 (Act 76), to focus more on the protection, conservation and management of the local species within Peninsular Malaysia.
Consideration will be given to the recommendations and suggestions from the public and NGOs in dialogues and workshops conducted by the DWNP or through written submissions.
The DWNP sincerely encourages the writer, NGOs and the public, to inform us without hesitation of any misdeeds pertaining to wildlife to help us in our endeavour to safeguard our biodiversity.
The DWNP’s contact list can be downloaded at
Head of Public Relations,
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

Inferior Department: Too Much Turkey, Not Enough Beef

Friday, November 28th, 2008

This fall the Bush Administration, led by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and others, has been working to gut the Endangered Species Act by shifting responsibility for the Act away from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and passing it out piecemeal to government agencies in charge of dam building, highway construction, and other forms of development.  In other words, handing the henhouse keys to the fox.  (Even though this metaphor doesn’t quite work it’s still more effective than any non-wildlife government agency would be at implementing the Endangered Species Act. ) 

Now, the day after Thanksgiving, we get this Black Friday garter snake news that the USFWS does not even have the funds to carry out its own responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.  It should be no surprise that the first warnings of new danger for our wildlife come from a reptile.  How we treat reptiles is often a very good sign of how we will soon treat “higher” animals.  Check out the Center for Biological Diversity website to keep abreast of how the U.S. government is doing on wildlife protection.  Here’s the story from the Tucson Citizen:

Feds: No funds to list garter snake as endangered
by B. POOLE <>
Published: 11.26.2008, Tucson Citizen

A snake native to southern Arizona deserves endangered species protection,
but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has no resources to make that happen,
the service said this week.


Bush Administration Smuggles in Extinction Rule

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne backed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall proposed a new rule to gut the Endangered Species Act, ceding authority to decide whether dams, highways and other public projects may harm endangered species, and giving it instead to each agency that wants to build a dam, road, etc.  Anyone who’s paid attention to the gutless management overseeing our country’s wildlife in recent years–in which our Special Agents are down to around three per U.S. state, Special Operations is moribund, and Service Law Enforcement Chief Benito Perez testifies to Congress that FWS not only doesn’t need more funding, but received too much in past years–is likely to say, I saw it coming. 

It is embarrassing (or should be) that men sworn to protect the environment so covet their pensions they’ll stand aside and let the smugglers into the forest.  Because that’s the thing–paving over an endangered species is no different from smuggling one across national borders.  In fact, it’s worse.  Whole ecosystems can be fractured by a single road, destroyed by an unnecessary dam.   THE LIZARD KING is a celebration of the heroes who fight the crime in front of them.  It is a window on smugglers many of whom rationalize strapping a few snakes to one’s leg as nothing compared to bad environmental polices,  unregulated development, and habitat destruction.  Here’s a rule that does it all in one sitting.  And it never even went to Congress.  Inferior has done it all on its own.  For more, read, e.g., the Washington Post.