Welcome Move to Strengthen Wildlife Conservation Act 2010
After the loss of Tam, the last surviving male Sumatran rhinoceros in Malaysia, and the fact that our Malayan tiger is on the verge of extinction, seeing proactive changes for the benefit of wildlife protection is encouraging.
A recent report in the Star states that PERHILITAN is currently reviewing the recommendation to expand no-hunting zones to include all forest reserves listed under the state enactments, water catchment areas and dams. This is with hopes that it will allow more room for wildlife, particularly mammals that are prey to tigers to breed better. The suggestion is for a total of 289 forests in Peninsular Malaysia to be gazetted as no-hunting zones. This is indeed a welcome move.
Our critically endangered Malayan tiger is on the verge of extinction and various other wildlife are under threat. Poaching is the greatest scorch to wildlife conservation in Malaysia. Although ongoing efforts to address poaching has increased, there remains great demand for exotic wildlife and wildlife parts. If deterrent penalties are insignificant and culprits do not face the full extent of the law, Malaysia will suffer from an Empty Forest Syndrome. Therefore, the move to strengthen the WCA is indeed promising.
In order to curb poaching, funds are needed to intensify enforcement on the ground. We urge the government to find ways through the law to channel fines collected for offences under this Act back to PERHILITAN for much needed enforcement purposes. We also urge the government to explore the possibility of removing the maximum limit of fines for serious wildlife offences.
WWF-Malaysia also suggests that provisions to appoint Honorary Wildlife Wardens are included in the WCA, similar to the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment. Appointing Indigenous Peoples and local communities who know the forest landscapes well as Honorary Wildlife Rangers to assist the department in patrolling wildlife habitats can be beneficial in increasing effective patrols, as well as empowering them to be involved in wildlife conservation.
Protecting our wildlife is not just the responsibility of enforcement agencies. It is truly a joint effort, which requires collaboration across NGOs, government, corporate stakeholders, local communities living as well as members of the public.
Therefore, we strongly urge all Malaysians to visit the ongoing online consultation at http://upc.mpc.gov.my and provide your feedback to strengthen the Wildlife Conservation Act by 14 June 2019.
Dr Henry Chan
Conservation Director, WWF-Malaysia
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Note to the media:
1) All quotes are to be attributed to Dr Henry Chan, Conservation Director of WWF-Malaysia.
2) Should you need more information, please see the details below but please note that this person is for contact purposes only and is not the organisation's authorised spokesperson, so we would appreciate it if this name is not printed in the article.
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organization also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. For latest news and media resources, visit http://www.wwf.org.my/media_
For further information:
Communications Manager, Peninsular Malaysia Conservation Programme
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