Forum: Clarity needed on the term 'wild nature' in Wildlife Act

I contacted the Ministry of National Development last month to seek clarity on the term "wild nature" mentioned in the Wildlife Act, which was updated last December.

At the moment, the Act defines wildlife species as animals that have a wild nature.

The wildlife management team of the National Parks Board replied to say the assessment of wildlife depends on a number of factors, including whether there are populations of the species left in the wild and whether the species as a whole is internationally viewed as wild.

The need to define this term directly affects how wildlife crime is reported and how the pet industry can grow.

Seized non-wildlife species that have traits that make them unsuitable for release get handed over to the zoo, adding further strain to holding facilities.

After the reopening of the border with Malaysia, many exotic pet species, such as bearded dragons, leopard geckos, sugar gliders and hedgehogs, have entered the local black market.

People who were caught bringing in these animals - which have been legally imported or bred in Malaysia for decades - have been prosecuted for wildlife crime.

If the animals were bred solely for the purpose of the pet industry, tamed and cannot be found in the wild, they obviously do not have a wild nature.

Ong Junkai

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