Saturday, 28 August 2010

He must suffer the consequences

The Star newspaper today reported the arrest of a man believed to be notorious international wildlife trader Anson Wong at the Kuala Lumpur international airport following the seizure of 95 snakes of various species.

Well, it is about time that local authorities go after Wong, if it is really him behind the snakes. It is a disgrace that Perhilitan (Wildlife and Natio­nal Parks Department) had refused to take action on him all these years because of a filmsy excuse that he had not broken any law in Malaysia, despite him being a wanted man in several countries around the world because of his illegal trade.

Well, Perhilitan cannot overlook him this time because he has been caught redhanded while attempting to smuggle out these protected snakes. The luggage broke at the airport and the snakes were discovered. Perhaps in a way, Wong has become careless because he could have just stayed put in Penang and let his underlings do all the dirty work of moving between countries. Or perhaps, he thought that he would be safe travelling within this region where almost all the countries are, one way or another, guilty of involvement in this business of endangering protected animal species to some extent.

People like Wong has no regard for the environment or conservation. To them, wildlife trading is just a way of making a living. I feel this is wrong because the resources of this planet is not infinite. Everything exists and co-exists in a perfect harmony -- Ed Stafford, the man who completed walking the length of the Amazon river in South America, will tell you this -- and when Man goes against Nature by unbalancing this balance, it will have irreversible consequences on our lives. We may not feel it immediately but not let our children suffer later.

But other than illegal wildlife trading, what's wrong is also the legal and illegal logging activities that go on in the jungles and on our hillslopes. Just because there is approval for trees to be chopped down doesn't make it a correct decision. By cutting down the trees and indiscriminately clearing the land of vegetation, we are stripping the earth of a natural cover and adding to the irreversible unbalancing of nature. This, again, must be stopped but unfortunately, some of the biggest culprits behind these activities are the governments themselves. And there's nothing that can be done to stop them.

In the meantime, here's an excellent expose in the National Geographic about Asia's wildlife trade. It's quite a recent story, published in January 2010, with Wong taking centre stage.

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