Malaysia destroys four tons of ivory as warning to poachers
Malaysia incinerated nearly four tons of elephant tusks and ivory products as the government tries to increase the punishments facing smugglers using the country as a conduit to China and across Asia on Tuesday, according to The Star.
Conservationists said Malaysia is one of the favored transit routes for the illegal shipments of ivory between Africa and Asia.
The 3.92 tons of tusks and products were seized at Malaysian airports between 2011 and 2017, and officials said it was valued at about 13.3 million ringgit (US$3.22 million).
Minister for Water, Land and Natural Resources Xavier Jayakumar said: “Smugglers use Malaysia as a transport hub, where they are shipped before being sent to other countries such as Hong Kong, Vietnam, and China.”
Xavier said they used to the incinerator to ensure the products stay off the black market.
He also said a planned amendment to the Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010 would increase the minimum penalty for poachers to 1 million ringgit and up to five years in jail.
The legislation was likely to be tabled in December.
“The message we want to send is we are in the forest, we are coming for you, and we will catch you,” said he said.
He also expressed concerns to reporters about only 200 tigers being alive in Malaysia since they could lose the iconic animal if the government did not take action immediately.
He said more than 200 Department of Wildlife and National Parks officers will be patrolling the forest around the clock to provide security for the animals.
The team will be focusing on 20 hotspots for the tigers across the country and will monitor along the forest trails, rivers, and logging sites for any signs of poaching.
“The police force have agreed to give us their support. The army will give us their support in due course time,” he said. “I am asking for 2,000 people as boots on the ground; the larger the number, the larger area we can cover.”
–WN.com, Maureen Foody
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