Keeping exotic pets, such as reptiles and tigers has become an increasingly popular trend over the past year. Now, the Instagram fame game has caught on with celebrities and social media influencers sharing pictures of their exotic pets, many of which are protected wildlife. Food pics aren’t cutting it these days, is it?
According to The Star, The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and conservationists say this growing trend is fuelling the demand in the illegal wildlife trade. Among the popular wildlife are dusky leaf monkeys (lotong) and leopard cats (kucing batu).
These wildlife are mostly juveniles that can be easily bought online. They are often photographed wearing diapers, collars and clothes.
You’re probably wondering where do they get these animals from? Well, a Facebook user that goes by the name Bam Arroganicia just exposed one online shop selling exotic animals…
The online shop that goes by different names – KEJORA PET, AMSYAR KEJORA, KEJORA AMSYAR – dared the public to call them out anytime as they claim to have a permission letter from the National Palace. They ended the FB post by stating that if you don’t like their social media presence, then block it.
When this case broke out on Twitter, many netizens question the authenticity of the letter. Many also pointed out that The National Palace should investigate this claim as it can easily destroy the image of the royals.
This should get attention of the @PDRMsia . He uses the name of the palace as one of the reasons for him to do illegal business. The police need to investigate this matter and if he found guilty, he should be charged with for embarrass the palace institution.
— Alfie 🇲🇾 (@7Chenn) July 30, 2019
According to wildlife activist – @sunflowerAidil on Twitter, Perhilitian and many other activists had tried to take down this specific online shop but the problem is, they could not refer it back to the Wildlife Conservation Act.
This is because there are currently no legal provisions which expressly forbid the advertising of exotic pets on social media channels. Under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, an individual can only be charged if he or she is found to be in possession of the animals… for now.
Delivery pun dalam kotak ja tak ada lubang bagai. Group ni still wujud la 🙁 pic.twitter.com/a0uSiXPnWr
— Fulan-i (@yayanridzuann) July 30, 2019
On June 9, The Star reported that legislation to ban online advertisements on the sale of endangered animals may soon be introduced under a proposal to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
Perhilitan director-general Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said that they would be proposing these amendments via the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry and it is likely to be tabled by year’s end.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said tough enforcement must be in place to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
“The new technologies, communication and high sums of money involved in the wildlife trade make it quite difficult to fight poaching and smuggling… Cooperation with all agencies is needed, along with the support from the public,” he said.
The illegal trade in wildlife could cause many already endangered species to become extinct. Better awareness and information would help potential pet owners to make more responsible choices, like adopting a cat or dog instead of buying an exotic pet that belongs in the wild.
Let’s stop the demand, so we can stop the trade. If you know anyone who’s interested in buying an illegal exotic animal, give them a good long, hard lecture on how idiotic they are acting!
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