Posts Tagged ‘WWF’

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…)

NGOs Welcome ‘Special Permit’ Reform, Call for Report

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

 From Malaysia:

The Star
January 26, 2010
Permits Process Lauded
NGOs welcome transparency to curb illegal wildlife trade

PETALING JAYA: Environmental groups welcome the Government’s intention to make wildlife special permits approval a more transparent process, to curb the illegal trade in wildlife contributing to species extinction.

World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma suggested that a formal committee be set up with relevant non-governmental organisations (NGOs) sitting in by invitation.

“This committee also needs a specific Terms of Reference (ToR) so its role and responsibilities


Academy of Sciences Malaysia: A Great Honor

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Yesterday I had the great honor of speaking to the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.  In introducing me, Professor Mohd Nordin pointed out to the audience that the Academy normally invites only Nobel laureates to speak. It was a very generous introduction to a very packed auditorium, and I am grateful to the Academy for making an exception. 

We had very good discussion regarding what it took to improve wildlife enforcement, the story behind the phrase ‘Fortress Malaysia,’ and the story of Operation Chameleon and the arrest of Anson Wong.  I was pleased to clarify that the book was non-fiction and that every quotation in the chapter ‘Fortress Malaysia’ is taken verbatim from recorded telephone conversations or actual correspondence. 

In the audience we had conservationists from Malaysia Nature Society, TRAFFIC, World Wildlife Fund, the United Nations, and others, as well as veterinarians, scientists, and those interested in the story of Malaysia and wildlife trafficking.  I was very pleased that not only did former Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) Director General Mohd Kahn attend but so did wildlife officers from nearly every state in Malaysia.  Dir. General Mohd Kahn told me he enjoyed the book very much and through his thoughtful questions, shared the difficulties of protecting wildlife with the audience.  Afterwards Dato Dr. Salleh Mohd Nor, Secretary General of the Academy, and Professor Nordin hosted a lovely tea.