Letter to the Editor 20 April 2020
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is gravely concerned to learn that the National Health Commission of China has recommended the use of bear bile in the treatment of severe and critical cases of COVID-19.
This move is a blow to conservationists worldwide, as on Feb 24th this year, China declared an immediate and comprehensive ban on the trade in wildlife and the sale of wild animals for food, citing the risk of diseases spreading from animals to humans, following the emergence of the novel coronavirus which has wreaked havoc across the world.
The Chinese National Health Commission, in recommending treatments for the coronavirus that includes bear bile, highlights a contradictory approach to wildlife viz. shutting down the live trade in animals for food on the one hand while promoting the trade and use of animal parts on the other.Read more
Letter to Editor 21 February 2020
Whilst Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) welcomes the recent temporary ban by China on the hunting, sale, transportation and export of all wild animals in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, a more lasting solution is needed to prevent another repeat of such outbreaks, not only in China but in all countries.
This requires a permanent ban on the trade, sale and consumption of wildlife and stricter controls, in the enforcement and prosecution of such illegal activities, especially the consumption of wild animals.
Much of the trade in wildlife is already illegal, but strict enforcement and prosecution measures remain a challenge in many countries.Read more
The latest revelation by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) that VVIPs are involved in the illegal wildlife trade and poaching is indeed cause for concern. Stopping poaching requires action against these wealthy and influential bosses of often extremely well connected organised crime gangs.
It is not just about catching and jailing poachers because there’s an endless supply of them. Going after small time poachers or traffickers may not be the solution, but the aim should be toward the big players in the poaching network, and corrupt government officials. Among wildlife traffickers, these VVIPs – the scourge in our society – are typically big business people who cover up for their evil actions by exploiting their status to benefit themselves, those close to them, or their organisations.
Letter to the Editor 18 September 2019
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) commends the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador for his duty of care and national responsibility towards the protection of our nation’s wildlife. He has made positive statements to combat the smuggling and trafficking scourge with the mobilisation of air, marine and land units to assist the Wildlife Department in thwarting wildlife crime on land, air and sea.
The assurance from the IGP of tougher laws and more drastic measures and actions to ensure more poachers are brought to justice under Malaysian law is most welcome. The international illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products has reached crisis proportions. It is a threat to the existence of iconic species and is a significant cause of the depletion of wildlife.
The growing menace of wildlife trafficking necessitates a call to action which is increasingly recognised by governments, conservation organisations and law enforcement agencies. There is an urgent need therefore to capitalise on this consensus and move forward from just recognising the problem to identifying the strategies and approaches that can successfully prevent this trade.Read more
Letter to the Editor 15 May 2019
More action and less talk is required to combat wildlife crime. Several species are becoming severely depleted and may disappear if more is not urgently done by Governments.
High value seizures of contraband ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts and pangolin scales dominate media headlines every week. Many live animals are traded with impunity - tigers, orangutans, pangolins, monkeys, birds, etc etc. Asia, particularly China and Southeast Asia are the main points for the supply and demand of many of the endangered species of wildlife.
Despite national rules and regulations related to wildlife conservation as well as international commitments, widespread illegal wildlife trade is still continuing throughout the region. Wildlife that has been illegally removed from the wild is sold domestically in its source country or moved through countries and across borders and sold both openly and covertly. Much of the trade goes on undetected and so it is difficult to quantify the enormous extent of illicit wildlife shipped and sold internationally. An increase in seizures does not necessarily mean that law enforcement and customs officials are more alert - it often means that there has been an increase in smuggling and that illegal products are flooding the ports due to increase in poaching and consumption. Currently there is more demand than there is supply.Read more
Causes of the tiger’s decline are depressingly familiar. The culprits are the same old enemies—remorseless poachers and despoilers of the tiger’s habitat—the same ones that are killing off many other species. The poaching of tigers is carried out largely to satisfy a demand for body parts in traditional Chinese medicine that shows no sign of waning.
There will be devastating consequences for tigers globally now that China is lifting the ban on rhino horns and tiger bones for use in traditional Chinese medicine; even though they have no therapeutic value whatsoever. China is creating a huge legal market for poached animal parts. This move could be a death sentence for both rhinos and tigers. It will inevitably stimulate demand and the trafficking of such products. This will also provide ample opportunities for traffickers to launder their poached animal parts.Read more
Press Statement / Letter to Editor 26 September 2018
Local media often display images of seizures of pangolin, ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts and testudines with headlines hailing the success of wildlife seizures by the Malaysian authorities. While these pictures depict the success of law enforcement in the crime against wildlife trafficking, it can be alarming due to the sheer quantity of wildlife products seized not only in Malaysia, but also those seized en-route to or re-exported from Malaysia.
Wildlife trafficking is thought to be the third most valuable illicit commerce in the world, after drugs and weapons. Discussions on combating wildlife trafficking have focused mainly on elephants, rhinos and tigers in Africa and Asia. Often forgotten, however, is the fact that wildlife trafficking occurs across all continents and threatens a wide range of imperiled species, including exotic birds, sea turtles, corals, caimans, iguanas, pangolins and the list goes on.Read more