Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Zoos overlooking moral onus

Monday July 6, 2009 The Star, Malaysia

I HAVE been following the articles on the plight of the baby orang utans with great concern.

The Wildlife Department is doing a good job, stepping up enforcement as indicated by the number of raids.

However the report “Orang utans dropped off by donor” (The Star, July 1) saddens me to think that if the simple application of laws such as the Wildlife Act 1972 and CITES is not adhered to by Malaysian zoos, how do we ever expect to stop the illegal trafficking in wildlife.

This is not the first time Taiping Zoo has put Malaysia in the limelight. Earlier, there were the four gorillas that were illegally imported.

What is equally puzzling is why did it accept the two baby orang utans which are a totally protected species under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 without even recording the details of the donor in the first place?

The statement by the Director of Taiping Zoo, Dr Kevin Lazarus, who is also chairman of the Malaysian Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria, that it accepted the baby orang utans as a social obligation and the claim that it was in the process of writing a letter to inform the Wildlife Department when raided are excuses that I find hard to accept.

The orang utan is an endangered species and if zoos start accepting “donations” as social responsibilities then they are overlooking their moral responsibility of not condoning smuggling.


Petaling Jaya, Selangor.