Open letter by Nature Alert on bad zoos and the illegal wildlife trade

Open letter by Sean Whyte, Chief Executive of Nature Alert

Dear Prime Minister,

The new Wildlife Conservation Bill has been welcomed by the public and NGO’s. Less welcome has been Minister Embas extending the implementation of this much needed new law to accommodate bad zoos and the illegal wildlife traders.

Putting the new law aside for a moment, we all know any law is only as good as those paid to enforce it.

This is a very big problem for Malaysia, simply because based on the past as well as very recent experience, Perhilitan are loath to enforce the law, MACC are reluctant to investigate Perhilitan and any appeal to the Attorney General falls on deaf ears.

Since the 6th July Nature Alert has submitted no less than 15 reports both to you and Minister Embas, drawing attention both in writing and with photographs, to animal cruelty at three ‘zoos’ – including your government’s very own Melaka Zoo.

The same locations are all supposed to be inspected and approved by Perhilitan. An additional report concerning a pet shop has gone unacknowledged.

All the evidence, and there is a mass of it, suggests the future for wildlife both in and transited through Malaysia looks very bleak indeed.

A matter of grave concern to NGO’s and one would imagine your tourism industry which depends so much on eco-tourism – an image already severely tarnished by the ongoing media coverage of bad zoos and the illegal wildlife traders who profit from Perhilitan’s complicity.

How does it make you feel Prime Minister, to be presiding over such a shameful NRE, Perhilitan and MACC who permit your valuable tourism industry to be damaged, perhaps irreparably, because of their failure to enforce the law?

Could Perhilitan become Malaysia’s “News of the World” or “FIFA”?

All it will take is for a whistleblower to lift the lid off the trash bin that is Perhilitan and doubtless the trail of stench will lead to all the scavengers who feed off the illegal wildlife trade.

At which time, Interpol’s International Wildlife Crime Unit will doubtless find rich pickings among what is uncovered.