Malaysia: Govt urged to act over wildlife roadkill and smuggling

The Star 9 Oct 17;

KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities must take immediate action to tackle wildlife roadkill and animal smuggling, which have affected the population of protected animals, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).

Lee, the patron of the Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was commenting on recent cases where wild animals have been fatally hit by vehicles and the authorities have made large seizures of protected-animal parts.

The animal activist said that in two recent incidents, an elephant bull and calf were killed on the Gerik-Jeli Highway within months of each other.

“I believe the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has statistics on wildlife roadkill, which could help the authorities construct animal crossings at suitable locations,” he said.

This is about 70% of the state’s elephant population, he noted.

One suggestion he gave was to adopt other countries’ solutions to reduce roadkill, such as wildlife detectors that would trigger flashing signs when an animal is detected near the road.

He said reflective stickers were also placed on South American tapirs’ tracking collars to make it easier to spot them in the dark.

He also hoped that the authorities would enforce the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 to honour Malaysia’s obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Last year, Malaysia and other convention member states agreed to include all eight known pangolin species in CITES Appendix I.

The list consists of species threatened with extinction.

Commercial trade in such species, including their parts and derivatives, is strictly prohibited.

Lee said Malaysia has become a popular transit point among wildlife smugglers, as shown by the Customs Department’s recent hauls which include 8,000kg of pangolin scales at a port in Sabah in August, and 75kg of ivory at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in July.

He added that the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 should also be amended to impose harsher penalties on poachers and wildlife traffickers.

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