Urgent Collaboration Needed To Clamp Down Illegal Wildlife Trade

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FLASHBACK: Subromaniam Tholasy, Customs Director-General show off the tusks and pangolin scales that were seized at the Sepanggar Container Port in August..

By DR DIONYSIUS SHARMA
COMMENT: WWF-Malaysia would like to congratulate the Malaysian Customs Department for the recent confiscation of illegal wildlife parts worth RM80.5mil in Sepanggar port, Sabah.

Initial investigations by Customs showed that the shipment of 148 elephant tusks and five tonnes of pangolin scales originated from Nigeria and were believed to be bound for China.

This is a huge crime against wildlife, especially as elephants and pangolins are also currently threatened by habitat loss and low reproductive rate.

DR DIONYSIUS SHARMA

Each adult female for both species can only produce an offspring at a time and in the case of an elephant, it has the longest pregnancy period of all mammals, which lasts more than a year and a half. Therefore the death of even one member of the species has a major impact on the whole population.

I call upon the state government of Sabah, and federal government agencies to continue collaborating with each other by sharing resources such as manpower and intelligence, to further clamp down on illegal wildlife trade.

We at WWF-Malaysia remain committed to fighting wildlife crime by providing technical expertise and sharing information with the government agencies, such as through district anti-poaching task forces in Sabah.

We must show to the world that we mean business when it comes to the survival of wildlife.

Therefore let us all work together so that Sabah will no longer be a transit point for illegal wildlife trade. Together, everything is possible.

Dr Dionysius Sharma is CEO and Executive Director WWF-Malaysia