The Golden Triangle: the Wild East of Wildlife Trafficking

The Golden Triangle: the Wild East of Wildlife Trafficking

Tigers, elephants, pangolins, sun bears, rhinos, serows, helmeted hornbills, gaurs, leopards, turtles. These are, according to the anti-trafficking watchdog TRAFFIC, the most commonly trafficked endangered species that pass through the so-called Golden Triangle. A small area wedged between Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, the Golden Triangle has long been notorious for…

Thieves of Songbirds are now Jailbirds

Thieves of Songbirds are now Jailbirds

For many Indonesians, songbirds aren’t just pretty little things that gladden the heart with their joyful chirps. They are invaluable parts of their culture and very identity. Many of these hobbyists will go to great lengths to acquire prized birds. Those lengths include poaching rare songbirds relentlessly from forests. And…

The Slaughter of Wildlife for Meat in Sabah and Sarawak must Stop

The Slaughter of Wildlife for Meat in Sabah and Sarawak must Stop

Some people see no difference between consuming chicken meat or the meat of protected animals like pangolins. Others positively seek the gastronomic thrill, as they see it, of consuming the meat of rare and “exotic” animals. One can make the argument, as many people have duly done, that ethically speaking…

Keep up the Fight on Wildlife Smugglers

Keep up the Fight on Wildlife Smugglers

Illicit wildlife products have been pouring into and out of Malaysia: elephant tusks, pangolin scales, deer antlers, tiger claws, sun bear teeth and claws. We know because in the past few weeks alone Malaysian authorities have managed to seize tons of such items at ports and airports from Sabah to…

The Online Sale of ‘Exotic’ Animals Carries On. It must be Stopped

The Online Sale of ‘Exotic’ Animals Carries On. It must be Stopped

Many Malaysians frequent Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media outlets to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Others, though, do so with a nefarious purpose: to buy and sell protected animals. Many of these animals are illegally traded “exotic” pets, which range from rare turtles to critically endangered hornbills,…

In Praise of Malaysia’s Sun Bears

In Praise of Malaysia’s Sun Bears

Shambling gait? Tick. Mischievous personality? Tick. Boundless energy? Tick. Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) are among Malaysia’s most endearing creatures. So named for the reddish crescent-shaped marking on their chest, sun bears occupy much of mainland Southeast Asia, including Sumatra and Borneo. Yet we are seeing less and less of…

Another Vietnamese Ivory Smuggler is Nabbed at KLIA

Another Vietnamese Ivory Smuggler is Nabbed at KLIA

And on and on it goes. The smuggling of ivory into and out of Malaysia, that is. Exasperating? You bet. Encouragingly, however, Malaysian officials tend to be on the ball and keep making arrest. The latest such arrest has involved that of a Vietnamese national who was trying to take…

Poachers in Sarawak boast about their Kills on Facebook. For Shame

Poachers in Sarawak boast about their Kills on Facebook. For Shame

You might think that Malaysian authorities’ stepped-up efforts to clamp down on poachers and wildlife traffickers have these wrongdoers on the run. Poachers and traffickers are cowering in fear of arrest, doing all they can to remain undetected. Right? Wrong. Some of the poachers clearly don’t give a hoot about…

Tiger poachers are Nabbed in Sumatra

Tiger poachers are Nabbed in Sumatra

Sumatran tigers are much like their Malayan cousins: they’re rare, majestic … and critically endangered in the wild. They share another thing in common: they’re frequently targeted by poachers. A case in point: Acting on a top-off, Indonesian authorities arrested two men for allegedly trafficking in the body parts of…

Hundreds of rare Tortoises from Madagascar are Discovered at KLIA

Hundreds of rare Tortoises from Madagascar are Discovered at KLIA

Another day, another seizure of exotic animals smuggled surreptitiously into Malaysia. This time alert customs officials seized 330 tortoises flown into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which has been serving as a favored destination for international smuggling syndicates. Acting on a tip-off, Malaysian officials discovered 325 Indian radiated tortoises and five ploughshare tortoises packed into…

Malaysian Officials must Stay Vigilant in the Face of rampant Trafficking

Malaysian Officials must Stay Vigilant in the Face of rampant Trafficking

Malaysia is a major gateway for international wildlife traffickers into Southeast Asia. We’ve long known that, of course, but just in case here is a reminder: The country, which boasts one of the most biodiverse but also most threatened environments on the planet, is “the world’s paramount ivory transit country, with its ports serving…

Rhino Horns continue to be Smuggled into Malaysia and Southeast Asia

Rhino Horns continue to be Smuggled into Malaysia and Southeast Asia

The shipment this time was from Mozambique, via Doha in Qatar, and consisted of 18 rhino horns. Alert Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur International Airport managed to seize the horns, which amounted to 51.5kg and would have been worth almost RM14 million on the black market. Acting on a tip, Malaysian customs officers conducted a search of…

Time to get Tough on Animal Trafficking

Time to get Tough on Animal Trafficking

When even seasoned experts are taken aback by the scale of wildlife trafficking across Malaysia, you know we’re in trouble. Yet taken aback experts are at TRAFFIC, an international anti-trafficking watchdog. And rightfully so. Recent arrests of several wildlife traffickers by Malaysian authorities have provided further evidence (not that any more was…

Peacocks lose out to Traditional Medicine

Peacocks lose out to Traditional Medicine

Peacocks are flamboyantly ostentatious birds with giant iridescent tails of blue, green, gold and red that they deftly employ in courtship displays. Unfortunately for the birds, their flashy tail feathers have also caught the eyes of people. Peacocks have long been hunted as trophies and kept as pets. Sadly, the birds are…