WWF-Malaysia: Establish police unit to combat illegal wildlife trafficking

art-314-01-24072020WWF-Malaysia feared that the lack of enforcement against poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking could lead Malaysia to suffer from an Empty Forest Syndrome – “a condition where forests are still intact but are devoid of wildlife”

As poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking continue to threaten wildlife conservation in Malaysia, WWF-Malaysia is calling for the formalisation and establishment of a wildlife crime unit within the Royal Malaysia Police to combat these threats more effectively.

In a statement released on 23 July 2020, WWF-Malaysia explained that the unit’s role would involve gathering intelligence on poaching syndicates, which remain part of the larger illegal wildlife trade network.

The wildlife conservation organisation added that in most reported cases, those prosecuted for hunting endangered species are highly likely to be working for or associated with foreign syndicates.

“This would ensure that legal action was followed through right from the evidence collection stage to the prosecution process.

“Putting a stop to these syndicates should be made a priority, apart from penalising those who are guilty of committing wildlife crimes,” the organisation stated.

WWF-Malaysia believed that the set up of the wildlife crime unit would be a vital step for Malaysia towards putting a stop to poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking activities in its forests, in conjunction with various other efforts that the Malaysian Government has undertaken so far.

These include the arrest of 64 poachers in the country since early this year, according to the statement of Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, as well as the successful efforts of Ops Khazanah, a multi-agency taskforce that has been carrying out numerous joint operations and apprehending suspected poachers in the forests of West Malaysia since its launch in September 2019.

“If we do not invest the necessary resources to conserve and protect our natural heritage now, we stand to lose them forever,” WWF-Malaysia said.

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