Archive for the ‘Principles’ Category

The Case Against the Florida Python Hunt

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Here’s my take on the Florida Python Hunt, running in National Geographic.

Opinion: Floridas Great Snake Hunt Is a Cheap Stunt

The case against the states wildly popular python hunt.

You can read more on this over at

For all this calls me Lisa Simpson.  Now, if only I could get a call to do a voice on the Simpsons.  Moe, a beeuh Moe. I’m dying over heah.

Reaction to Wong Release

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012


I confess, my initial reaction to Anson Wong’s release yesterday was that of a lawyer:  the court’s decision to reduce Wong’s sentence was probably reasonable given the facts as presented.

Here is excellent and insightful commentary from Malaysia on the implications of Anson Wong’s release from Dr. Bill Schaedla of TRAFFIC SE Asia who correctly points out that there is more to the story than simply what reached the appellate court… 

The investigation and prosecution of this case also lends further support for Malaysia’s efforts to create a Green Court.

Reaction from

Anson Wong Released

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012


A Court of Appeals in Malaysia today released wildlife trafficker Anson Wong.  Wong had served 17.5 months of a five year prison sentence for smuggling boa constrictors.  You can read more here.

Wong’s five year sentence was a significant one for a wildlife trafficker anywhere in the world, and unprecedented in Malaysia.   The Appeals Court today ruled that the 5 year sentence did not fit the crime of boa constrictor smuggling, a defensible conclusion in the limited circumstances of this case.  

Ironically, the failure of Malaysia’s Wildlife Department ever to arrest Wong worked to his advantage:  “It is trite law that Wong’s plea of guilt is a mitigating factor. It is trite law that the fact Wong was the first offender is another mitigating factor,” the judge said.

Agents and prosecutors in US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Operation Chameleon would argue that Wong was hardly a “first offender.”   Instead, as Wong confessed in a US Court room, he smuggled critically endangered wildlife for decades. 

What did occur for the first time was that Wong was brought to justice in his own country.   This is a major advance.  It is the result of  good work by Malaysian citizens, national media, NGOs, legislators, prosecutors, and judges.  Every element of Malaysian society except Malaysia’s Wildlife Department worked hard for justice in this case.   The future is yet to reveal itself…