Singapore urged to adopt harsher penalties and "zero tolerance" towards illegal wildlife trade

Singapore has been urged to adopt harsher penalties for illegal wildlife trading activities, in a report by UK-based wildlife trade organisation Traffic. 

The island state has been identified as a notable transit hub for endangered wildlife goods, due to records of large amounts of ivory and pangolin scales that have been seized

An estimated 895,000 pangolins were trafficked globally from 2000–2019. Photo courtesy: Traffic
An estimated 895,000 pangolins were trafficked globally from 2000–2019. Photo courtesy: Traffic

Although fines for such offenses are high, Singapore has the maximum imprisonment sentence of two years for wildlife crime. This is the lowest among all ASEAN Member States, with the regional average being about eight years, according to the report titled 'Southeast Asia: At the heart of wildlife trade'.

Kanitha Krishnasamy, Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy: Twitter/Kanitha Krishnasamy
Kanitha Krishnasamy, Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia. Photo courtesy: Twitter/Kanitha Krishnasamy

"Not a day goes by without a wildlife seizure taking place in Southeast Asia, and all too often in volumes that are jaw dropping," said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

She emphasised that while seizures are certainly commendable, what must be eradicated are the many basic enabling factors that drive and fuel illegal trade.

'Southeast Asia: At the heart of wildlife trade' recognised and analysed thousands of successful seizures across the ten ASEAN countries in recent years, focusing on some of the most traded groups of terrestrial animals. Authors of the report noted that the statistics comprised only seizures and was just a fraction of the true magnitude of illegal wildlife trade in the region.

Endangered Saiga antelope's horns. Photo courtesy: Traffic
Endangered Saiga antelope's horns. Photo courtesy: Traffic

Traffic also recommended that the Singapore government should work with relevant agencies to ensure that social media platforms and online commercial portals adopt a "zero tolerance" policy towards the trading of endangered wildlife on their platforms. 

Krishnasamy explained that the report revealed the close links between ASEAN countries and the wider world. "The region is source, consumer and transit personified. Only political will at all levels of government and a willingness to act will break the grip of illegal trade chains and networks,” she said.​

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

Singapore-headquartered online media company targeting Indian Diaspora across Singapore, US, UK and Dubai. Connected to India covers developments around Indians abroad, informing, engaging and entertaining its audiences.

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