Get tough on wildlife smugglers


  • Letters
  • Thursday, 02 Jan 2003

SAHABAT Alam Malaysia is aghast at the latest discovery of 2,000 animals and insects under a stack of old boxes, “Bizarre haul of animals in anti-smuggling check” (The Star, Nov 20). 

Smugglers are always full of ingenious ideas in smuggling their “loot” across borders and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.  

Of late, smuggling of wildlife species from across the Malaysian-Thai border is quite rampant due to the demand for exotic and pedigree pets by consumers. The greater the demand, the higher the price.  

Traffic in wildlife is so widespread that it is the world's third largest illegal export right after drugs and weapons.  

This growing traffic in wild animals is a source of major concern for SAM with the mushrooming of pet shops in every city and town.  

Pet shops go to great lengths to cater to the demands of exotic pet seekers. Twenty years ago snakes and spiders were unheard of but today they are so in demand that many species seem doomed to extinction.  

Animals are transported in lorries in overcrowded conditions that cause them much stress. Puppies caged in pet shops fare no better. Reptiles are captured and kept in inhumane conditions until they are traded and killed.  

Placing a mere fine of several thousands of ringgit will not suffice as it is only a fraction of the price that hardcore smugglers get for exotic species in the black market.  

As traffickers constantly perfect their techniques, the help of veterinarians and other experts is needed. 

 

S. M. MOHAMED IDRIS,  

President,  

Sahabat Alam Malaysia. 

(via e-mail)  

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