Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

Thai Success a Failure?

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Thailand’s Wildlife Crime Task Force arrested a Malagasy national attempting to smuggle 218 critically endangered Radiated and Ploughshare tortoises from Madagascar into Bangkok last night.  This arrest comes just 12 days after the arrest of a Pakistani man smuggling an astonishing 1,140 endangered star tortoises into Thailand in his luggage, and is the sixth arrest of a wildlife smuggler in seven weeks, according to the Thailand-based NGO Freeland.  This work may appear commendable, but there is a big problem.

Catching couriers may get press releases but it does not stop wildlife trafficking.  What stops trafficking is (more…)

Size Doesn’t Matter

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Too much time is being spent debating Anson Wong’s prison sentence, and whether it is long enough.  Doubling or quadrupling his jail term will not make a difference.  What people should be focusing on are two things:

1.  Anson Wong’s laptop and cellphones 

2.  Perhilitan’s Revamp

The Ministry took possession of Wong’s laptop and cellphones upon his arrest.  Anyone interested in making a difference regarding Anson Wong and his international criminal network should focus on the contents of those, and how the government handles them.  Minister Uggah announced a revamp of Perhilitan.  That, too, is far more important than whether Anson Wong gets 6 months or 18. 

A good editorial running today in The Star.   The writer brings up a number of good points and recommendations regarding wildlife protection and reform in Malaysia.

Officers in Cahoots to be Weeded Out

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Malaysia’s national newspaper  The Star ran an interview of me today, along with news that the Ministry of Environment has announced a complete overhaul of Malaysia’s Wildlife Department, declaring that “Officers in Cahoots with Illegal Traders to be Weeded Out.”  It will be very easy to see whether an overhaul indeed takes place… There is more than one way to be in “cahoots.”  [The media likes to focus on corruption, but failure to act, or to see a problem, is just as damaging to wildlife, as the comments to this post indicate.]

One other thing.  I did not actually say Anson “should have been given a tougher sentence.”  I said:  When two women from Madagascar were caught with tortoises in their luggage, they each got a year under the same law—twice Wong’s sentence.  Given Wong’s knowledge of the law, his history as a wildlife dealer, and as a wildlife smuggler, a judge could well have given him a much tougher sentence.  I didn’t say I thought he should get more time.  The truth is, Wong was prosecuted only for smuggling boa constrictors, a fairly common snake to go to prison for.  He might have been prosecuted for much more.  Still, given what he has done to wildlife during his lifetime, it is hard to pity him whatever he gets.