Elephants are no match for poachers. The macabre butchering of two Borneo pygmy elephants shows that poachers abound in almost every corner of the country or state waiting to strike when least expected.
In the past, pygmy elephants have become the victims of poisoning reportedly by oil palm plantation workers to deter elephants from eating the fruit of the palm trees. Last September a group of elephants were stuck in a mud pool in Rinukut for a week leaving seven dead.
August 29th commemorates the biggest live export disaster which took place in 1996 when a ship carrying 67,000 sheep on board caught fire and disappeared in the Indian Ocean. The ship was on route from Australia to Jordan – Australia’s biggest market for live sheep – when fire started in the engine room and spread to the crew’s quarters, killing one of the 55 crew members, while the remaining crew abandoned ship.
This tragic incident is not the only one, for another similar incident occurred in 1980, when 40,600 sheep were lost in a fire on a ship travelling from Tasmania to Iran.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is sickened to the core to learn of yet another tragic death of a magnificent animal – the jaguar – at the hands of a military. The needless deaths of the jaguar, gorilla Harambe, alligator killing in Disney resort in Orlando, Florida lions in Chile zoo and countless other exploited wild animals have sparked an international outrage, yet exploitation of wild animals go on.
SAM condemns the incident following the lethal shooting of a jaguar urging for a ban on the showcasing of semi-domesticated animals whether to glorify the military, the Olympics, use in adverts or any human activity.
What kind of values is the Olympic committee trying to portray. Is their display of such an elegant and graceful animal a show of power and dominance over a lesser creature? To drug a beautiful animal, have it on chains and displayed like a trophy without any regard of what wild animals may be capable of doing is unthinkable.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) expresses great concern that Malaysia has been, for the wrong reasons, identified by TRAFFIC (a wildlife trade monitoring network) as a popular transit country used by criminal networks for the lucrative illegal wildlife trade.
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day, celebrated on 5th June, is Fight against the Illegal Trade in Wildlife. It is apt for SAM to reiterate our call to the relevant authorities to stamp out illegal wildlife trade that put Malaysia in the wrong spotlight:
- Malaysia was the top exporter of tropical logs in 2013 (3.5 million cu m),
- A primary source of illegal shipment of agarwood (7 metric tonnes between 2005 and 2014 seized),
- One of the top reptile skin illegal exporters.
- In 2010 and 2013 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) destroyed a total of more than 2,241 poachers’ traps and 1,728 illegal camps.
The continuous emergence of wildlife news in the media warrants serious attention from the government and the relevant authorities. Malaysian wildlife faces a desperate fight for survival into the future and without urgent intervention, many of our country’s endangered species will soon be wiped out.
They are being driven to extinction by many factors including habitat loss, hunting and poaching, population expansion, expansion of oil palm plantations, logging and opening up of forested areas for agricultural produce, dams and highways and above all, the flourishing illegal wildlife trade.