Biggest Wildlife Cybercrime Seizure This Year
Raids conducted between 28 May and 6 June 2018 resulted in several arrests that were all part of a key online illegal wildlife trade syndicate operating widely through social media networks. In what is considered to be one of the biggest wildlife cybercrime seizures in Malaysia this year, wildlife and wildlife parts amounting to an estimated RM200,000 have been confiscated.
A total of 631 wild animals, 20 wildlife parts and 30 wildlife eggs were seized. This includes 28 Indian star tortoises, 10 dusky langurs, 6 leopard cats, 3 civets and 2 hill mynas. All suspects are being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
In a separate incident, on 27 May 2018, PERHILITAN Terengganu also arrested two foreign poachers in Taman Negara suspected to be part of a larger team that may still be within the forest complex. These two men were in possession of over RM50,000 worth of wildlife and wildlife parts of bears and wild boars, as well as agarwood to be sold to the perfume industry.
Although ongoing efforts to curtail illegal poaching and trade has increased, the demand for exotic wildlife and wildlife parts has also equally increased, if not more. If culprits are not brought to justice with immediate effect at the full extent of the law, we will find ourselves living in a country that suffers from Empty Forest Syndrome which is caused by the actions of humans, primarily hunting in tropical forest ecosystems. This results in the ecological extinction of a multitude of wild species and the reduction of biodiversity.
The illegal wildlife trade still remains as one of the greatest threats to wildlife conservation in Malaysia, including the critically endangered Malayan tiger. WWF-Malaysia has always advocated the need to have more intelligence-based teams to support special operations, and this operation is a successful example of how such targeted information can enable the authorities in effectively crippling wildlife poaching in our country. Hence, the enforcement work by PERHILITAN is highly commendable. However, there is still a need for operations to be scaled up in terms of coverage and intensity as poaching threats remain as rampant as before.
Furthermore, 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 and in some cases, local communities living within the area.
Therefore, we strongly urge all Malaysians to be more vigilant, aware and practice intolerance towards wildlife crimes, and play an active role in the protection and conservation of our Malaysian wildlife for generations to come. Please report wildlife crimes to the PERHILITAN Hotline (1-800-88-5151, Monday – Sunday: 8.00am to 6.00pm) or the Wildlife Crime Hotline - 019-356 4194.
Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma
Executive Director/CEO WWF-Malaysia
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For more information, please contact:
Communications Manager, Peninsular Malaysia Terrestrial Conservation Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603-7450 3773