GEORGE TOWN: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has suggested that cyber crime units be set up and special monitoring programmes be implemented as part of efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade.
SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris (pic) said wildlife traders in Asia had been conducting transactions internationally and had even turned to social media sites to evade detection.
“If the illegal wildlife trade is not curbed, then Malaysia’s 26 species of endangered animals, including the Malayan tiger, common otter and 11 species of bats, will go extinct.
“Already extinct are the Javan rhinoceros, Banteng (a species of wild cattle) and the Indian grey mongoose,” he said during a press conference in Jalan Masjid Negeri yesterday.
The event was held to mark World Environment Day which will fall tomorrow with the theme ‘Fight against the Illegal Trade in Wildlife’.
“Don’t just ban the hunting of sambar deer. Stop issuing hunting permits for all wildlife,” urged Mohamed Idris.
He claimed that moves to curb the illegal wildlife trade had been largely fruitless because the current enforcement efforts were either ineffective or were not deterrent enough.
“The tame enforcement efforts point to a lack of political will among those responsible at national and international levels for protecting wildlife species.
“Strong deterrent measures such as heavy fines and longer jail terms must be imposed and enforced stringently.”
He said enforcement efforts should also match the growing involvement of sophisticated, well-funded and increasingly armed criminal organisations in the illegal wildlife trade.
“Wise planning, clear policies and scientific advice are clearly needed from experts to ensure humans and wildlife can live conflict-free,” he said.