Tuesday, November 22, 2005
My Adventure of Highlighting Animal Exploitation
Hillary Chiew of the Star, wrote an eye-opening piece on the rampant exploitation of wildlife for the amusement of the public today. This particular issue or predicament has long been debated within the Wildlife Conservation fraternity as it involves the blatant exploitation of Wildlife here in Malaysia.
You see, animals listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), means they cannot be traded, due to their critically endangered status. However, for unexplained reason, some endangered and totally protected animals, such as orang utans, tigers, elephants, gibbons, pangolins, slow lorises, cockatoos and macaws end up in theme parks and private zoos.
In order for an individual to keep one of these animals, he/she needs to obtain the Special Permit under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. This is done by applying to the Natural Resources & Environment Minister , which is initially based on advice by the DG of Perhilitan. The latter apparently does so through a Special Permit Committee filled up by divisional directors.
What we (fellow naturalist and conservationist & I) are concerned with is that these special permits have been issued like yellow cards by Uriah Rennie in a Merseyside Derby. In addition, events which stink like my feet after futsal, shows that something must be done with the regulation and issuance of such permits;
#1. One park has 14 orang utans of questionable origins.
#2. The second park has one Sumatran orang utan with no documents.
#3. Although one applicant is allowed ONE Special Permit at any one time, the theme park with the six orang utans was issued two permits for 20 orang utans in November 2000, and these have been renewed annually.
#4. The park’s claim for education is totally rubbish. Visitors to theme parks are neither gaining any insight into the life of animals in the wild nor the threat they face. All visitors see is the unnatural behavior of the animal playing golf and cycling. It just sends out the wrong message that wildlife is meant to entertain humans."
#5. An Estuarian crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), was placed in a water hazard of one of the park’s golf course.
#6. The rampant sale of the Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) in pet shops in the Klang Valley, even though the species is critically endangered in its original habitat of the Indian subcontinent.
As a so-called caring society, our apathy for the treatment of wildlife is appalling. As long as we, the public, patronizes these so-called animal safaris, we are guilty of exploiting and hastening the extinction of our local wildlife. Only 3 places in Malaysia, promotes animal enrichment in their captivity as well as promoting conservation through education. They are; Zoo Negara, Zoo Taiping, and Zoo Melaka.
The others are tossers and wankers.