March 10, 2016

The fate of Malaysia’s Wildlife ‘is in Your Hands’

The fate of Malaysia’s Wildlife ‘is in Your Hands’

The United Nations' World Wildlife Day, on March 3, seeks to raise awareness of endangered species. Photo Credit: United Nations

Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has been in the news lately and for all the right reasons. He’s warned Malaysians of the climatic threat facing the nation’s scenic coral reefs and has issued a call on citizens to better protect their nation’s endangered species by refusing to engage in any illicit activities that underpin wildlife trafficking.

It’s apropos the protection of endangered wildlife that the minister of Natural Resources and Environment has spoken again. “As we chart our journey towards becoming a developed nation, let us not forget that every creation of God should be given due consideration for its life and its purpose in the intricate web of life on our planet,” he stressed in a speech delivered on occasion of the United Nation’s World Wildlife Day on March 3.

Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has called on Malaysians to help protect Malaysia's endangered species. Photo Credit: Mohd Fadli Hamzah via Sabahkini

Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has called on Malaysians to help protect Malaysia’s endangered species. Photo Credit: Mohd Fadli Hamzah via Sabahkini

“The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘The future of wildlife is in our hands,’” Wan Junaidi went on to remind Malaysians, “and this is an apt theme as we see that each one of us has a part to play in ensuring the survival of wildlife species. As humans, we are all intimately connected to our environment and its elements affect us and our lives.”

Hopefully all Malaysians, young and old, male and female, will take this simple yet important message to heart. Although the country has come a long way economically over the past decades, a lot of that progress has exacted a terrible price on Malaysia’s world-renowned biodiversity. Malaysia has hardly been alone in this: the sacrificing of the natural environment at the altar of economic development has been a global problem. Yet not all countries have responded with the same degree of urgency in trying to tackle and at least alleviate problems.

Wan Junaidi says his administration has been pursuing a comprehensive set of action plans to save endangered species. High among priorities are the National Biodiversity Policy, the National Tiger Conservation Action Plan, the National Elephant Conservation Action Plan, and the Central Forest Spine Master Plan for Ecological Linkages. “These plans outline the actions to be taken by all stakeholders in order to achieve our vision of a future where wildlife and their habitats continue to thrive, especially our keystone species,” the minister said.

He reiterated his call to Malaysians to “step up your efforts towards appreciation of [wild animals’] roles and functions in the ecosystem. Be alert for activities that are damaging or have a negative effect on wildlife and its habitat and report activities that are against the law to the authorities. Play your part as the guardians of our natural heritage now; because once it is gone it will be almost impossible to bring it back. Every action counts and every effort is worth it. The future of wildlife is in our hands, let us all take that seriously.”

Amen to all that!

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