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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Taxis to carry stickers on illegal wildlife trade awareness

Don’t keep quiet: The car sticker for the campaign features a photograph of a slow loris in a box.

Don’t keep quiet: The car sticker for the campaign features a photograph of a slow loris in a box.

SOME 500 taxi drivers will be carrying stickers urging passengers to report cases of suspicious trade in wild animals and plants to a hotline.

Designed by Traffic, the stickers will be distributed by MyTeksi — a smartphone taxi booking platform.

The stickers feature a 24-hour hotline for the public to report illegal activities involving wildlife throughout Malaysia, such as live animals or their parts and products in trade.

The hotline is managed by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat).

The alliance involves Traffic, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia.

Information received from the public via the hotline is channelled to the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) or other enforcement authorities.

The reports made to the hotline last year ranged from illegal pet trade or ownership to illegal logging and poaching signs in the forest.

They resulted in several arrests in connection with keeping protected wildlife and offering wild meat for sale.

Reports from the public have also resulted in confiscation of wildlife kept without permits, the removal of snares and the recovery of smuggled timber.

“Everyone has a role to play in cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade” said Chris R. Shepherd, Traffic’s regional director in South-East Asia.

“The participation of the public is absolutely essential. Slapping a car sticker on a window may be a simple act but by supporting us in this way, MyTeksi members will help carry the message and the hotline number further.”

The sticker also features a photograph of a slow loris taken by Malaysian photographer Dinesh Aravindhakshan.

It was chosen from several designs through an online poll by Traffic’s Facebook fans in South-East Asia.

The production of the stickers was funded by The Body Shop Foundation as part of a project to raise awareness on wildlife trafficking.

Slow lorises are among a number of endangered species trafficked throughout the region for the pet and medicine trades.

South-East Asia is home to the Sunda, Northern, Javan and Bornean slow lorises as well as the pygmy slow loris; all are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which means commercial international trade in them is not permitted.

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