Billboards teach wildlife trade laws in Malaysia

Posted on 23 November 2011

Ignorance is no longer an excuse for wildlife criminals, with awareness signboards on wildlife crime penalties built around Gerik town, near Malaysia's Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
Ignorance is no longer an excuse for wildlife criminals, with awareness signboards on wildlife crime penalties built around Gerik town, near Malaysia's Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

These signboards, placed at poaching hotspots and public areas in and around Gerik, convey the penalties under new the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 as one of the means to deter would-be poachers from committing wildlife offences.

“The billboards are part of WWF-Malaysia’s overall efforts to support the enforcement authorities in addressing the poaching crisis which we are now facing at Belum-Temengor,” said Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia.

The Belum-Temengor Forest Complex has seen its share of wildlife crimes, the latest being the arrest of two smugglers and seizure of 12 pangolins near Gerik earlier this month.

The men arrested were tailed by the Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) as they crossed from Kelantan into Perak border and headed to the village of Bersia, not far from Gerik town and the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

The case highlights yet again, the threat to pangolins and other wildlife in the area including the Malayan tiger, which are under constant threat from the voracious illegal wildlife trade in this region. In fact, Bersia has long been the subject of many reports of wildlife crime received by WWF-Malaysia and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia from the public.

“With the inception of the new Wildlife Act, Malaysia now has some of the strongest anti poaching and wildlife protection laws in the region. It’s time to get the message out that this country is serious”, said Dr. William Schaedla , Regional Director for TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

The Hulu Perak District has a Joint Enforcement Taskforce that was set up in 2010 to fight poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Dr. Schaedla added that the DWNP, which is a member of this taskforce, could certainly do with more support from other member agencies and information from the public considering the scale of the problem in the area. “The billboards are a great start, but after they go up the authorities will need resources to follow through on the message with action”, he said.

To report wildlife crime, members of the public in Malaysia can SMS to 019-356 4194 or email to report@malayantiger.net. The information received will be channelled directly to the DWNP, and caller’s identity will remain anonymous.
Billboards in Malaysia educating residents about wildlife laws
© WWF-Malaysia / Lau Ching Fong
Illegal killing and trade threatens many endangered species including tigers, elephants and rhinos
© WWF-Malaysia / Sara Sukor