WILDLIFE: Rethink lifting ban on capture of birds
SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) opposes the lifting of an eight-year ban on the capture of wild birds by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).
The key question is whether Perhilitan has considered five factors to determine if delisting the birds is appropriate, namely: threats to or actual destruction of the habitat needed by the bird species; threats from the overuse of the songbird species for commercial trade and pet purposes; threats from disease and predation; the amount of protection of the species or its habitat provided by other laws and regulations; and any other man-made factors affecting the continued existence of these bird species.
A re-evaluation should include an assessment of whether these factors are likely to increase or endanger the species that are being delisted.
This matter must be addressed as birds are endangered on all fronts by our use of pesticides, overhunting, overdeveloping, filling in wetlands and the introduction of invasive exotic species.
Perhilitan should place priority on the enforcement and protection of birds rather than pandering to the demands of bird lovers for the ban to be lifted.
With the ban no longer enforced, there is a strong possibility that the birds will quickly become endangered, as people will assume the ban to be a licence for irresponsible behaviour.
Currently, the existing laws and regulations to protect birds should be more effectively enforced.
Captive breeding is also not possible, as some species do not breed in captivity. In addition, captive breeding does nothing to increase the wild population.
Commerce in wild species harms the wild populations since it is far less expensive to capture a bird from the wild than to run a breeding operation.
SAM is strongly opposed to the delisting because there is no gain.
S.M. Mohd Idris, president, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Penang