Every day, countless young wild animals are orphaned when their mothers are captured or slaughtered for the illegal wildlife trade. Many young are also taken from the wild and end up in the illegal trade because someone wants a cute pet.
Now, The Body Shop with the help of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia are calling attention to this problem with the "Where's My Mama?" campaign, that urges the public to consider the impact of their purchases. After the awareness created with the Save Temengor Campaign, The Body Shop continues to protect our planet, this time around by drawing attention to the animals in the wild that are in need of protection.
The campaign features the orang-utan, tiger and bear, all of which are affected by this aspect of illegal wildlife trade.
For each young Orang-utan found in trade, an estimated two to four others die. Some experts place the figure as high as eight. There are two species of orang-utan – the Sumatran and the Bornean, both of which are in serious trouble. Trade in young animals as pets, coupled with huge levels of habitat loss have pushed Asia's only great apes to the brink of extinction.
Adult tigers are hunted and snared to feed the demand for tiger parts, leaving cubs to fend for themselves. Of the nine subspecies, only six survive today. Less than a century ago more than 100,000 tigers roamed Asia's forests but today, largely due to poaching to supply the demand for their parts used in traditional medicines and as trophies, only approximately 3000 survive. And the poaching continues.
Malaysia's only bear species, the Malayan sun bear, is the smallest of the world's eight bear species. And they are in trouble. Adult bears are illegally hunted for their gall bladder, their meat and body parts. Orphaned cubs are defenseless, as they rely entirely on their mother for the first two years of their life – when the mother is killed, the cubs perish. Sadly, the cubs are also captured for the pet trade or to be put on display in zoos.
In hopes of stopping this illegal trade and to draw and awareness to the plight of these animals, The Body Shop Malaysia will run its signature "Kick the Bag" campaign, asking the public to report illegal wildlife trade to the Wildlife Crime Hotline. These paper bags, act as a tool to help spread the word and draw awareness to the campaign. In store, The Body Shop will run the campaign until till the end of the month by giving out postcards to customers that frequent the stores.
We do this at The Body Shop not because it is fashionable, but because to us it's the only way.
Across SE Asia, numerous baby and orphaned sun bears fall victims of pet trade, poaching, and "animal loving" behavior. Just two last week ago, I was asked to help and to give advice on two pet sun bears in Sintang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia Borneo. The owner of this baby bear, Kulik, want keep him because he "love" this bear so much and refuse to surrender to a better home. The negotiation still on going to find a better home for him.