DR AMERJIT SINGH for Secretary-General Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Putrajaya
I REFER to the letter from E.L. of Petaling Jaya on the baby orang utans that were confiscated from Taiping Zoo ("Taiping Zoo staff face the music" -- NST, July 13).
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks shares the concern of the writer and has formally informed Taiping Zoo on this issue. The case is still under the investigation by the department and action will be taken accordingly.
The department would like to emphasise that it is indeed concerned about the illegal possession of wildlife by zoological parks or any person, and will not hesitate to take action against them accordingly.
ORANG UTAN: Taiping Zoo staff must face the music
E.L., Petaling Jaya
RECENT reports of the baby orang utans that were confiscated from Taiping Zoo by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) raise several questions.
How could Taiping Zoo "accept" two baby orang utans without obtaining details of the donor, or ask the donor about the animals?
And why wasn't Perhilitan informed right away?
Assuming it is a properly- run zoo, its staff must have known that this is a totally protected species, in addition to being listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna.
The staff who received the animals should have immediately consulted Perhilitan and recorded the details of the donor.
I find it difficult to fathom that Taiping Zoo, whose director is the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria chairman, would not have staff trained to know what to do in such a situation.
If the investigation shows foul play on the part of the zoo and its officials, they must face the full brunt of the law.
At worst, the zoo is guilty of intentionally trafficking in wildlife and, at best, negligence, poor training and even poorer judgment.
The following is my letter to The Star newspaper, Malaysia, who first broke this story, but the letter remains unpublished. The government exercises censorship over Malaysian newspapers. STOP PRESS. I have though since heard from the Malaysian authorities they are taking legal action against the offenders. I will update everyone on the fate of the orangutans which are currently held by the government as 'evidence'.
From: naturealert.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 05 July 2009 21:37
Subject: To the Editor, The Star, Malaysia
Letter For Publication Please.
Caught red-handed - Again
It was encouraging to read of Perhilitan's quick response to the tip off that orangutans were being held illegally
by the Taiping Zoo and a nearby ostrich breeder.