New Straits Times, 8th June 2018
by Avila Geraldine
KOTA KINABALU: Despite stringent laws in Sabah, many continue to use the social media platforms to trade endangered exotic wildlife as pets across the nation.
Raising the concern, Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) has identified Facebook and Instagram accounts offering sun bear cubs, civet cats, leaf monkeys, gibbons, leopard cats, raptors, hornbills and tapir among others.
BSBCC founder and chief executive officer Dr Wong Siew Te said the authorities would know about this and yet there are not enough action taken by them.
“I have reported my findings since last year and sadly it's business as usual for some of the people involved,” he told NSTP.
“If this continues, our wildlife will be gone soon. There are already many wildlife population affected by habitat lost over the past 50 years.
“The remaining wildlife population are barely hanging on to the highly fragmented habitat with a lot of poaching pressure,” Wong said.
Wong, a wildlife biologist, said most of the traders operate using private accounts and some have their contacts clearly stated. “They can be traced and contacted, if the authorities wants to.”
He urged the government to seriously look into this as illegal wildlife traders and buyers appear not to be afraid of the law.
“It’s time for change on how we look at wildlife conservation. The government needs to look at wildlife crime more seriously,” he stressed.
Wong noted that the BSBCC celebrated Sun Bear Day on May 16 to raise public awareness on the protection and conservation of sun bears.
But few days later, close to the end of May, he detected an advertisement that offered a sun bear cub online.
Sun bears are totally protected in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. It is also a protected species in Sarawak.
Wong stressed wild animals sold were national treasures, adding they play important roles in the forest ecosystem.
“They are abducted and killed. If we keep quiet and choose to do nothing, soon our forest will become an empty forest,” he added.