Malaysia: ‘Stay off bush meat this Xmas’

The Star 23 Dec 15;

KOTA KINABALU: As poaching and the consumption of wildlife tend to spike during the festive seasons, WWF Malaysia is calling on people to stay off bush meat this Christmas and New Year holidays.

The conservation group said it would be a great gift this Christmas for everyone not to consume bush meat to further preserve wildlife.

“This Christmas, let us all be good stewards of God’s creation by not hunting, purchasing or consuming exotic meat.

“Together, we can aramaiti (party in Kadazan) responsibly by being part of the solution for wildlife conservation,” said WWF spokesman Leona Liman in a statement here yesterday.

A survey by WWF-Malaysia in Sabah in 2013 showed that 56% of those interviewed consumed wildlife meat while 14% admitted that they had bought such products before.

Wild animals most widely reported to be eaten were bearded pig, sambar deer and turtle eggs, as well as pangolin, snake, crocodile, monitor lizard, monkey, civet and barking deer.

This was despite the fact that turtles, said Liman, were a totally protected species and no killing, consumption or sale was allowed in Sabah.

Overhunting, illegal hunting and trade in wildlife meat and parts had contributed to the decreasing numbers of wild animals in Sabah’s forests, she added.

“Thousands, if not more, of them are slaughtered by illegal hunters every year – for their own reckless consumption, illegal wildlife trade and even sport hunting.

“Traps laid by poachers are completely illegal and not only cause long and excru­ciatingly painful deaths but sometimes, other wild animals that were not targeted also get trapped by mistake.

“In some cases, these heartless hunters even use explosives to kill our wildlife,” she said.

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