My Letter to the Editor on restricting the retail sale of pets and banning the sale of wildlife (see previous entry, dated March 27) has elicited this official response from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment:
Pet shops: Laws being reviewed for better control
By DR AMERJIT SINGH, for Natural Resources and Environment Ministry
10 April, 2008
WITH reference to the letter "Restrict sales to certain shops" by Wong Ee Lynn (NST, March 28), I wish to make some clarifications based on the input provided by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Licensed pet shops can only trade in limited species of wildlife listed in the "protected" category of the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972. They are not allowed to buy and sell any "totally protected" species such as the mongoose.
However, the public should also be aware that many pet shops buy and sell wildlife that is not protected under the act. If exotic foreign wildlife is traded, the department ensures that provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) are followed.
It is acknowledged that more professionalism is needed among pet shop owners, especially in the care of animals in captivity. The Wildlife Department sees it as one of its main responsibilities and priorities. In addition to providing guidelines, regular awareness programmes are also carried out to ensure traders comply with the guidelines. Together with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the department is at present reviewing the Protection of Wildlife Act. Therefore, the writer's suggestion to make such guidelines binding will given due consideration.The writer mentioned that there are pet shops that are illegally selling protected wildlife. The department urges the writer and members of the public to pass on such information to us for immediate action.
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Very encouraging indeed. We may be on our way to attaining developed nation status after all.
Whiskey Echo Lima – Out.