Government Urged to Take Strong Actions on Illegal Wildlife Trade
The call was made as Malaysia was expected to join 50 other countries in the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference to be held in London on 12 and 13 February. These included source, transit, and destination countries for illegal wildlife goods, as well as countries with resources available to tackle the trafficking.
Both organizations urged the Malaysian government to sign the Conference Declaration, and to further give focused attention to seven key areas, namely:
• establish national-level commitments to address poaching, trafficking and demand reduction.
• develop a clear mechanism for the implementation of the agreed commitments at the London Conference.
• empower agencies with the necessary funds to fight wildlife trafficking and poaching, and strengthen investigations and prosecutions of wildlife crime.
• revive and mandate the Malaysian Wildlife Enforcement Network MY-WEN) to take the lead on combating wildlife trafficking in the country.
• set up a National Tiger Task Force to oversee the implementation of the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan as well as anti‐poaching efforts to protect tigers and other wildlife.
• conduct an independent audit of all ivory stockpiles in the country, and follow up with the public destruction of the said ivory.
• crack down on illegal wildlife trade networks operating in the country, through intelligence‐led investigations, intensive enforcement efforts and strong use of Malaysia’s tough new laws.
“The two-day conference is an opportunity for governments to commit to finally ending illegal trade in elephants, rhinos, tigers and wildlife. Any measures agreed in London must be backed at home by delivering actions equal to the challenge,” said WWF-Malaysia’s Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
“Malaysia has already lost so much of its wildlife to poachers and is in dire need of a credible response to the problem. We call on the Government to make the fight against wildlife poachers and traffickers a priority in the national agenda, in support of the London Conference, and show the world it is willing to commit people and funds to its effort,” said Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia, Dr Chris R Shepherd.
From 2008 to 2010, 142 snares were discovered and de-activated in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) by a WWF-Malaysia wildlife monitoring unit working with authorities. In the same period, TRAFFIC recorded the loss of over 400 animals including tigers; one of which was famously rescued after several days in a snare in 2009, but later died from its injuries. WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC have continued to make such finds in the area including one case in August 2011 involving a dozen snares targeted at large mammals.
“Poaching for trade is clearly the most chronic threat to Malaysia’s wildlife. Local and foreign poaching syndicates are emptying the forests of tigers, their prey, and other wildlife. Most of these poachers are armed and they, including the foreigners, enter the forests without any fear of getting caught,” said Dr Sharma.
The two-day event in London is being hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson. WWF-UK President, HRH The Prince of Wales and his son, HRH The Duke of Cambridge will also attend the London Conference events.
In September 2014, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative is proposing to organize with partners the Zero Poaching Symposium & Expo Asia in Kathmandu, which will bring together government experts and agencies responsible for tackling poaching and launch an unprecedented effort to work toward achieving Zero Poaching as fast as possible. At the symposium, participants will share their experience and skills, new technologies will be showcased and new standards and approaches will be launched.
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TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of IUCN and WWF.
For more information:
Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-78033772 Email: email@example.com
Elizabeth John, Senior Communications Officer, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia,
Tel: +6012 207979 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org