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MORE and more exotic animals comprising endangered species have made their rounds to the dining tables without timely intervention from the wildlife enforcement unit.
Human beings love to sample just about every living thing and their insatiable cravings have led to the mindless killings of these creatures, many of which are on the verge of becoming extinct.
The dozens of lame excuses and rationale given by consumers for eating exotic creatures range from upping their sex drive to improving their health.
My dear friends, there is no need to resort to brutal killings of protected animals just to savour their flesh and meat.
These animals deserve to co-exist among Mother Nature's fauna and scientists can vouch for their contributions to the ecosystem.
A check by Streets at the busy Air Itam wet market here recently showed that exotic endangered species amphibians have been on sale in the open.
An unidentified man was seen selling an iguana and a tortoise on the road side.
The man is playing hide-and-seek with the Wildlife and National Parks Department enforcement officer.
He said the iguana was up for grabs at a mere RM300 while the tortoise would be a steal at RM50.
It is learnt that the iguanas and other reptiles were stuffed in small boxes before being sent to Malaysia from some neighbouring countries.
Once in Malaysia, animals are re-distributed to the other parts of Asia.
Our country was fast becoming a major wildlife trade transit hub until the notorious Penang-born Anson Wong was put behind bars in Malaysia for profiteering from selling endangered wildlife species.
Turtles and tortoises are among the top traded animals.
In March, police in northern Vietnam seized five tons of pangolin and iguana carcasses, destined to be shipped to restaurants in China.
Frozen carcasses were also confiscated in a warehouse in Mong Cai town near the China border.
Under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008, a fine of up to RM100,000 is imposed for illegal possession of over 60-pages-long of protected species.
Despite the hefty fine, the act does not mention jail term.
Many non-governmental organisations have hit out at the lenient sentence and called for animal smugglers to be jailed.
A financial penalty is never enough, especially for rich traders who stand to benefit much more from such exploitations.
These exotic animals may not be the cutest living things on Earth, but spare a thought for their fight for survival. They are not as cuddly or adorable as household pets, but no one has the right to trade them.
It is grotesque to see the way exotic animals die as they are slaughtered and turned into delicacies.
Show some love to the exotic animals and treat them in such a way to allow them to have a fighting chance to survive in an increasing difficult environment so that our children, in future, will still be able to see these animals.
We certainly can do our part to ensure their survival if our craving for exotic meats stops.