Speaking Out

Yesterday, I said that writing letters is an important tool for those interested in doing something when it comes to illegal wildlife trade.  Here is an example, appearing today, in Malaysia:

Corruption taking the bite out of Perhilitan
by Sean Whyte | Mar 29 from Malaysiakini.com

I refer to the letter Tiger battle: Take up call to arms with a roar.  Time and again one reads of so-called legally protected wildlife being either caught in or, illegally traded (laundered) through Malaysia.  Millions of birds and animals have been sent to a cruel death in foreign countries such as China and the United States with Perhilitan making no serious effort to stop it. Why would this be?

According to the prestigious National Geographic magazine it is largely because of corruption within Perhilitan; something of an open secret anyway.

How do the people of Malaysia feel about their country being at the heart of the world’s illegal trade in wildlife? Why does the government not take swift action to rid Perhilitan of its corrupt officials? It surely knows by now who they are.

Whatever happened to the five orangutans confiscated last summer? Was anyone prosecuted?

The Malaysian tourism authority, and Sabah’s in particular, go to great lengths and a lot of expense to promote themselves as an eco-tourist destination. Unless Perhilitan is held to account soon there will be very little wildlife for anyone to see.

Besides which, the world can now see Malaysia is really a wildlife hell, not haven.

The writer is chief executive, Nature Alert.

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One Response to “Speaking Out”

  1. Azrina Abdullah Says:

    I think the answer to Sean’s questions is in the letter by Disappointed Malaysian. The government’s non-response is most probably due to the lack of interest shown by the Malaysian public, the non-adequate responses from NGOs and the local media inadequately highlighting the issue. Although there seem to be a rise in the reporting of seizures (not many prosecutions, though), when it comes to corruption, no one wants to touch it with a ten-foot pole. The corrupt officials obviously see this as a great way to sweep the issue under the carpet. No one follows up, no one remembers. When a certain species become extinct, I think we can only blame ourselves for not using whatever means we could to keep highlighting the illegal trade issue. The ‘soft approach’ with the government does not seem to be working. The cycle will continue – another report/proceedings/workshop outcomes on why the tiger must be saved, media picks up the story for a few days, public is angry then we forget again. Then another report is published…..you get the picture.