Posts Tagged ‘Madagascar’

New Wildlife Law, But Old Wildlife Department

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Last week, Malaysian Customs officers stopped a pair of low-level smugglers coming into the country from Madagascar.  Instead of capitalizing on the fresh energy and goodwill of the country’s new wildlife law (and a successful Customs stop) by announcing an investigation into a longstanding Malaysian smuggling syndicate operating in Madagascar,  Perhilitan’s Law Enforcement Principal Assistant Director Loo Kean Seong  has announced that either Madagascar pay for the endangered animals’ return, or the animals will be euthanized, or sold.   

While this may be technically correct as a matter of CITES law, Loo goes on to say that Perhilitan cannot spend public money on conserving species that are not from Malaysia.  This policy of refusing to protect non-native species is what has helped make Malaysia a wildlife smuggler’s paradise.  The statement is inconsistent with Malaysia’s CITES obligations, not to mention the principles behind the country’s new law.

Those who supported Malaysia’s new wildlife law hoped that Perhilitan would finally have the tools it said it needed to stop major wildlife traffickers.  Instead, Loo’s comments indicate Malaysian wildlife kingpins may have it better than ever:  They have a new law with the appearance of teeth, and nobody willing to enforce it.   On the other hand, WWF takes a cheerier view of things here, making the valid point that this is a perfect scenario for ASEAN-WEN to get involved.  As is widely known, for years endangered Malagasy reptiles have been smuggled directly to Malaysia and via Bangkok… 

Story, from The Star:

Take back animals, Madagascar told

By LESTER KONG, 17 July 2010 (more…)

Malaysian Crime Syndicate Plundering Madagascar

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

On Wedneday, Malaysian Royal Customs officials stopped two women coming in from Madagascar with luggage chock full of critically endangered wildlife (story below).   It is clear from the size of this seizure and others–including a recent and similar seizure of hundreds of endangered radiated tortoises and a ploughshare tortoise (rarest tortoise on earth)–that a major individual or individuals in Malaysia is smuggling large amounts of wildlife from Madagascar… 

TRAFFIC has a couple of good reports on the latest of these smuggling attempts, here and here.  Apparently, wildlife trafficking is becoming so easy and so profitable that drug runners and car thieves are among those in Malaysia entering the field.

News From The Star.

 Rare Tortoises, Frogs, Chameleons Confiscated

KUALA LUMPUR: Two travel bags containing protected animals have been confiscated by the Customs Department at KL International Airport.

There were 369 Radiated Tortoises, five Madagascar Tortoises [BC:  ie PLOUGHSHARE TORTOISES], 47 Tomato Frogs and several chameleons, Department Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director-general Datuk Abd Rasid Samsuddin said.

He said the animals were brought in by hand luggage by two women from Madagascar on Wednesday.

“The tortoises were bound with masking tape to prevent them from moving, while the chameleons were stuffed in socks to prevent detection,” he said, adding that the animals cost an estimated RM250,000.

In another case…Read More…