Rainforest Journal

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Wildlife poaching in Malaysia on the increase

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Wildlife poaching in Malaysia is increasing, and it’s worrying. Today there was a report in the local newspaper about this disturbing trend. This is a reflection of the ever increasing decadence of mankind, and is but one signal or sign that the world as we know it, may not last longer than a few more decades (from now).

Much of the decline is fuelled by China, of which there has always been a huge (and still growing) demand for wildlife parts, and resources like timber. China’s environmental record is itself among the worst in the world, if not the worst. But what do you do, when human life itself is considered cheap over there?

The combination of Communism, “Cultural Revolution” (more like cultural destruction), and growing affluence has meant that a whole new generation of millions of people now sees nothing wrong with poaching and eating animals into extinction, as long as they imagine or perceive that doing so offers them health benefits. Africa is probably second on the list, although they mostly hunt (and eat) their own animals.

Poaching in Malaysia is not new; in fact it wiped out the Javan and Sumatran rhinos in the past 100 years, but for some time now, the trend has been to hunt any and all species with any perceived commercial value. Many poachers in Malaysia are not Malaysians, but foreigners from Indochina. However, locals living near forests are also involved, sometimes as middle men. Meanwhile, National Parks and protected areas become targets due to their higher numbers of wildlife and biodiversity.

The Malayan pangolin, once common almost everywhere, even in the 1990s, is now so rare that you should consider yourself lucky if you ever spot one in the wild. Towkay geckos are another one that is now virtually extinct in Peninsular Malaysia, due to the mistaken belief that their blood cures AIDS/HIV. Even the clouded leopard, once the most elusive of animals (you could spend your whole life in the jungle and never see one), has not been spared (caution – graphic).

All those animal species that are getting wiped out have interactions in the delicate ecology and web of life of the rainforests; we still do not know what happens ultimately to the environment when one domino is removed. But you can take Bukit Nenas (at the foot of the KL Tower) as an example of an ecologically degraded “virgin rainforest” that has apparently never been commercially logged, but is already suffering a slow death, save for the cover of the remnant original forest trees, that will themselves die in due time. Bear in mind that Kuala Lumpur was still a vast primary rainforest only sometime between 100-200 years ago, and trees are supposed to live hundreds of years.

The clock is ticking, counting down to the end. Our end?

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