Malaysia: ‘Protected sun bears still being sold in Kapit’

FATIMAH ZAINAL The Star 23 Apr 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: Growing up in Kapit, Sarawak, Jenny Kong knew just how special her birthplace is.

A three-hour boat ride from Sibu, the small town boasts of a beautiful natural environment.

But a sad practice, she said, is prevailing in Kapit.

There is still the killing and trading of sun bears, which are a protected species, the Kapit native said.

“Their parts such as the bile and nails are all cut up and sold. Have you seen such a thing with your own eyes?” Kong, 21, asked.

“From the time I was a little girl until today, I would see sun bears being sold openly in the markets of Kapit,” she said.

The population of sun bears had dropped by 30% in the last 30 years, she added.

Kong, who is a student at the Institute of Teacher Education Tuanku Bainun Campus, was among six conservationists who spoke on environmental sustainability at the Sembang@WWF programme held at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) here yesterday.

The event was held in conjunction with Earth Day 2017, which was celebrated annually yesterday.

Hundreds of youths got together to learn about the latest climate science and actions that they could take in their communities.

“This year, we dedicate Earth Day to the youths because you are the voice of tomorrow.

“The exposure needs to begin from now, so you will be able to make informed decisions and have the right mindset and right behaviour to build a more sustainable future,” said WWF-Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma.

SGM president Michael Kok said together with WWF-Malaysia they wanted to inspire more young people to put in greater effort to promote the agenda.

“A 15-year-old today will be an adult in 2030, the target year for the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.

The half-day event also marked WWF-Malaysia’s partnership with SGM to launch an animation series called When We’re Friends With Nature.

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