MY friends and I once saw a man pouring boiling water on a stray cat. The poor creature howled in agony and we wanted to tell the man to stop but then we realised talking to him would be futile.
There are many Malaysians who are not animal lovers. We often see lovely birds being caught in nets and placed in cages. While bird watching in the forest, we see men catching pretty quails with traps.
Worse, we have seen kittens and puppies being thrown into deep drains and dog catchers capturing stray dogs by stringing the animals’ neck with hard wire. Sometimes, they also catch dogs owned by careless owners who do not bother to buy a licence for their pets.
And then there is the illegal trade in exotic pets. Illegal wildlife trade is thriving despite the existence of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
Animals such as pangolins, pythons and hornbills have been smuggled or cut up for their body parts and exported abroad.
It is important for Malaysians to appreciate the creatures living with them. Education plays a crucial role in this.
Parents and teachers can show that the true way to show love for these creatures is to protect their habitats and observe them in their natural environment. Parents can teach children to save baby birds that have fallen from trees or send a stray puppy to the SPCA or other animal welfare homes.
Animal conservation groups, the Malaysian Nature Society and other enforcement agencies rely heavily on ordinary citizens and travellers to be their eyes and ears. If one wishes to save a baby owl or python, one can phone the Perhilitan Careline at 1300-80-1010 or call WWF.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Malaysian Nature Society