Another wild tale from the illegal wildlife trade, this one about a Malaysian smuggler that
offers a window on the illegal wildlife trade and our broken system to combat it. Underfunded law enforcement, government corruption, controversy-shy NGOs, and a feeble international legal framework have yielded few inroads against wildlife syndicates or kingpins like Anson Wong.
At the end of this piece, the larger issue driving the illegal wildlife black market is acknowledged:
Wildlife smugglers, like any other breed of trafficker, obey the laws of supply and demand: As long as there is a market for rare and endangered animals, someone will find out how to get them there.
Let me elaborate: as long as there are cultures that value animal bile and body parts for supposed medicinal purposes, the illegal wildlife racket will thrive. It’s not as sexy as a story of a notorious smuggler brought to justice, but it’s a story that should be explored.
Seriously, I would have been more impressed if the Guardian writer had become a Freegan for a month, or swore off jet travel for 2010. Instead, he takes the no retail therapy pledge for metrosexuals and thinks he’s helping save the world. Gimme a break. Talk to me after you donate half your wardrobe to someone in need or volunteer at a soup kitchen once a week for a year.
On a less cheeky note, the new California governor seems to have his head in the right place, though anyone who knows anything about New Urbanist dwellings knows they are mostly trendy, expensive digs for the well-to-do set. That said, when I see Thomas Friedman give up his kings castle for something a little more scaled back that is at least consistent with his green gospel, we’ll know a real trend of self-sacrifice is in the making.