The world's leading conservation group TRAFFIC has recently raised awareness of illegal poaching and wildlife trade near an important protected area during its three-day exhibit. The message was reached out to over a thousand residents in the area, where the activities were taking place. The program witnessed TRAFFIC setting up booths at night, and markets in towns bordering the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex in the northern Peninsular Malaysia. The complex is home to a wide variety of endangered species such as elephants, gaur (locally known as seladang), sun bears, and tigers; making it an ideal place for poachers and wildlife traders to conduct their illicit activities. The complex also shares a border with Thailand, and is one of Malaysia's three tiger priority sites. As part of the initiative, TRAFFIC staff and volunteers addressed to the local residents about the penalties and provisions under the nation's new Wildlife Conservation Act of 2010 for illegal possession and trade of wildlife, poaching, and the use of snares and other forms of trapping. The team also spoke about the ban on hunting the barking and the sambar deer, which are an important prey species for tigers and among the most commonly poached animals in the area. Due to poaching, the populations of Malaysia's sambar deer has seriously decimated. In addition to addressing the locals, the team also advocated the Wildlife Crime Hotline which is administered by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), of which TRAFFIC Southeast Asia is a member. Residents were urged to contact the 24-hour hotline and report any information on poaching, the use of snares, or the illegal wildlife trade.
This article gives a perfect example of community outreach directed towards local residents about the dangers of illegal poaching and wildlife trade being carried out in the wild places renowned for their rich abundance of wildlife. In this case, the location is Malaysia which has long been a major center for the illegal trading of endangered and exotic wildlife. Although I very much admire the steps TRAFFIC has taken in order to spread awareness about the threats Malaysia's wildlife is facing, I also feel that similar initiatives must be conducted in other countries where these threats continue to plague their local wildlife. One of the ways to carry out these initiatives would be to have different conservation groups, including TRAFFIC, to form alliances with the governments of these nations in order to address the issues to the general public. And just like in Malaysia, there should also be an establishment of a similar hotline which people can contact to report any suspicious activities related to poaching and the wildlife trade. This way, it will further help the world in the battle against wildlife crimes.
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