Prioritize our Megafauna, Not Panda

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) previously warned and anticipated news of the costly upkeep of the pandas in Zoo Negara.  In fact, it is to be expected considering that pandas are the most expensive animal in the world to keep.

As far back as 2009 and 2012 SAM had strongly objected to the deal, being highly critical of the move to bring in the pandas which the Chinese government is happy to rent out for a six figure fee.  At that time the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment and Zoo Negara had an attack of panda-mania which conjure up the entire brouhaha drowning out the concerns of NGOs and the public.

However, the expense of captive breeding pandas raises a serious question of whether this one species is really worth all that money that could be better spent on our megafauna – large animals – such as elephants, tigers and rhinos?  Malaysia is facing an ugly situation  whereby these animals are worth more dead than alive in the places they live and conservation is not pursuing new avenues of thought on how to better protect them.  On this account, they are all staring extinction in the face.

Once again SAM urges the Government and the Natural Resource & Environment Ministry to put our money to better use on equipment, human resources, and effective action to tackle this burgeoning area of wildlife cybercrime, action against corruption and strengthen protection on the ground.

Letter to the Editor, 6 September 2016


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