Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wildlife Murders In Langkawi

Of all the diurnal primates found on Langkawi, they are the shiest and gentle among all. They usually mind their own business and take off when you get close to them. Their shyness and gentleness are the unique traits that draw other primates to admire them and perhaps getting as near as possible to shoot them - with cameras.

This particular gentle diurnal primate is one our island's wildlife attraction, the Dusky Langur (Trachypithecus obscurus), which mostly can be found at the edge of the rainforest, in plantations or even nearby housing estates. 

A Dusky Langur (Trachypithecus obscurus) looking curious

The other primate that I am referring to is us (you and me) which belongs to the homo sapiens species. 

Decent homo sapiens like us would shoot them with cameras, either the pro ones or the not-so-pro ones. However, there is another group of homo sapiens in which I refer them as the evil ones that have shot some of these Langurs with shotguns or rifles.

Yes... with real guns! This news I received today was reported by one of our Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) member in Langkawi. 

This image was taken from MNS Langkawi
Many thanks, Alif Emmes and the informer for sharing this

Click below for the story...

This was reported and posted by one of MNS Langkawi member via Facebook:

"No, this is not a stock image downloaded from the internet. 

This is reality in Langkawi. It shows a dead Langur mother shot by local villagers on the 20th of January 2012 at the foot of the hillside at Pantai Tengah. My informant was on his bicycle when he drove around the corner and the dreadful sight of the dead monkey hanging head down in the tree opened up to him. At the same time he caught the three local culprits by surprise. They were dragging along two injured and blood covered baby Langurs. One of the men carried a brand new 16 gauge shotgun. 

My informant immediately started to question the guys and managed against their will to get hold of the two babies which had strangling roots tight around their neck. Not feeling comfortable with the rifle in his opponent’s hands and worried about the well being of the little orange ones he headed direct towards the animal clinic. While one of the monkey babies died in the first night, the second one seems to be ok so far and hopefully might stay alive.

I am actually wondering that only a few days after a similar incident in Pantai Kok again Lemurs were killed. There are plenty of Macaques to see on Langkawi but Lemurs are rather seldom to see. And these few are destroying the rubber plants on his plantation one of the guys claimed? Is it coincidence or are the "hunters" after the Lemur babies? Is maybe someone paying good money for them? I know quite a few licensed hunters and none of them would ever shoot an animal mother carrying children. It is not only cruel by all means it is also absolutely illegal."

Note: The author wrote "Lemur", in which he was referring to the "Langur".  

The President of MNS, Professor Maketab has sent an email to an officer in the Perhilitan (Wildlife Department), Haji Ramli Ahmad and we all want to see some actions taken.

Dusky Langur is a protected species under our Wildlife Department, click here for the list of protected mammals. Dusky Langur is under item 3. Even though they are protected, however, they are protected only up to a certain extend depending on which schedule that this species is listed under. 

Based on the report, these Langur/s were shot in places like Pantai Tengah and Pantai Kok area, in which these are the highly touristic areas. There was another comment in that same Facebook page reported that gun shots were heard in the area of Seven Wells waterfall. Another touristic spot. These poachers have became so daring. 

The reasons given for the shooting these Langurs are rubbish and absolutely not acceptable. There are other ways to curb this problem should these evil men claimed that these Langurs were destroying their plantation. Or it could be another reason that their plantation is illegal that they refuse to work with the relevant authorities to resolve the issue. Mind you that there is a group of inhabitants here whether they are locals or not, are destroying the gazetted rainforest in conversion to plantations. This is what we refer as "Land Grabbing", which is rampant and uncontrollable in Langkawi. When Dusky Langurs remaining habitat is destroyed by these evil ones, where else can they go "cari makan" (looking for food)? 

While tomorrow is Friday, which is the start of the weekend for all government agencies. From the informer's report, the murder incident happened on the 20th January 2012, which happens to fall on a Friday. Do you notice the pattern or the modus operandi of these poachers? 

First the Hornbills and now the Langurs (and of course there are a lot more wildlife been trapped, shot and yet to be reported), I wonder what will be the next drama that will bring down Langkawi's image as an eco-tourism destination?

I am looking forward for some answers from our Perhilitan and will update all of you should I have any. Should anyone out there sees suspect/s as such, please shoot them with camera as evidence. Even shooting their getaway vehicle registration number will help.

Note: Thank you to Kathrin Loffler, Vanessa and Pam Hill for the alert...yeah.. I love the power of Facebook!


  1. So dangerous and so sad. They take the babies to sell it o/s as exotic pets? Dangerous for tourists too. Maybe make big noise on the tourist angle to major newspapers so they will stop shooting. If create panic on shooting at tourist areas then the state agency will be compelled to stop the shootings all together. State agencies will be more scared to lose tourist $$ rather than some monkeys so maybe go that angle.


    1. Hi TC,
      I will very much likely think that they shoot the adults for the young ones. This is the time of the year when adults will gave birth to the young ones.

      I really do hope that tourists will report this to major newspapers. It will bring the tourism industry down but only for awhile because humans can easily forget. My guess is that it has very little impact (probably until the last buffalo, monkey or even the myna birds are gone). You see, mostly foreign tourists are the ones that voice out their concern for this island. Where are our locals' voice? Our local authorities certainly need to be rocked and wake up!

  2. i have made many trips to langkawi, staying the berjaya where the wonderful wildlife is able to live peacefully. over the years, i have been privileged to grow familiar with many beautiful wild creatures. however, recently, we have become disillusioned and extremely distressed after a number of incidents.

    first, the killing of great hornbills on gunung raya. then, last year, we visited laman padi. while having coffee in the restaurant, my husband noticed there were nets over the padi. a pond heron was caught in the net. we tried to get help. when people came, the heron was 'rescued to death'. my husband took a series of photos. laman padi is a museum! an educational tourist attraction, for heaven's sake. why do they need nets? [we have an exhibit of an execution in the tower of london. we do not find it necessary to behead anyone!]

    on our last trip, we saw a man hanging a bird-trap at tengkorak. he was using a small bird as 'bait'. when i took a photo, he took the trap down.

    and now this. i am in despair. truly, evil walks in paradise. how can langkawi be sold as an eco-tourist destination, while this is happening?

    1. Ok Pam has told me to share this sequence of pictures taken at Laman Padi, a beautiful exhibit of how malaysians grow rice & a majour tourist attraction.
      If this is what Langkawi has to offer in the way of tourist attractions then someone in LADA needs to get their ass into gear & put a stop to this.

    2. Hi Pam,
      I have been disillusioned too :(

      Unfortunately, those nets set up at padi field has been practised for some time. You are right that laman padi should not practise this on that spot. very unprofessional of them.

      On another reason, these villagers set up nets to catch seasonal birds coming in and they are the White Breasted waterhens. For what? To eat!

  3. i understand the sentiment expressed by 'anonymous' above. my first instinct was to link this story to trip advisor. however; such a link would be quickly removed - there are rules about being 'family friendly'.

    also - i feel that there would be a huge backlash from making a fuss about the 'danger' to tourists. realistically, no such danger exists. but public opinion is easily swayed. and a drop-off in tourist numbers would almost be certain. the tourist industry is already struggling, no matter what the politicians are saying about increases. the recession in europe, the stopping of air asia x flights from europe and india will all have an effect. there is already bad publicity in australia regarding the sea-jellies and the lack of emergency treatment for victims. add guns to the mix, and your last large free-spending market will be decimated.

    how will that help wildlife? it will not. people will need to find other ways to make a living and more forest will be removed, more animals made homeless or killed and more unsustainable fishing and farming will ensue.

    i am suggesting that everyone, from LADA down to the individual holiday maker, should make it plain that the future of tourism depends on the wildlife and the rainforest. create more jobs and training in working to protect the environment. take a quick look at st lucia in the caribbean; it is mandatory to hire a goverment approved guide for any walk in the rainforest. the guides are recruited in the island. so the rainforest can be seen to be contributing to the local economy, simply by existing. a small step, but in the right direction.

    as visitors, take photos of wildlife and ask about it, talk about it at every opportunity. make sure everyone in the island knows it is what draws visitors. every little helps.

    1. Hi Pam,
      I was wanting to suggest you to write to the tripadvisor and here comes your comments. Tripadvisor will have little impact because most tourists can't be bothered about such issue. But still, better than not having to voice out at all. I have came across visitors wrote about deforestation problem in Langkawi on tripadvisor. I am sure tripadvisor will publish your review, no? What do you mean by "being family friendly"?

      I totally agree on your points about the roles of LADA and stakeholders on this island. Locals and even right down to the nature guides in Langkawi are weird. Not all (just in case somebody is sensitive) but a majority of them do understand that $$$$$$ generated from tourism is because of the island's wildlife and biodiversity. But, they simply "DON'T CARE" or even "NOT BOTHERED". All they care about is making $$$ into the bank account and then take their business somewhere else when Langkawi is screwed up. It is the attitude of these people that I myself is not able to understand.

      I do welcome the recession situation in Europe. This will slow down the process of locals selling their forested land or even the rice field. Wildlife poaching is a small percentage factor as compared to loss of habitat which is the main threat to wildlife population.

  4. Hi Mick,
    Write to LADA and send it together with your pictures.

  5. trip advisor has a set of rules which they call 'guidelines'. they are not, in fact, guidelines, since if you breach them your comments are removed, and score too many breaches and your membership can be cancelled.

    amongst those 'guidelines' is a requirement that the site remain 'family friendly' and so, although a crime might be referred to in passing, it is not allowed to mention violence, murder or anything likely to upset the sensibilities. so the link would be taken down.

    i actually hope you do not 'welcome the recession' in europe. if you do - then you are extremely short-sighted. recent developments have actually been marketted in the middle east, rather than europe. you will get no support for environmental concerns from that quarter.

    1. Hi Pam,
      I guess that's why tripadvisor didn't publish my writeup about the nasty incident at Pulau Payar marine park then. It is pointless to read tripadvisor. about welcoming the global recession instead? Not even the middle east and china can purchase the land here. Then this will slow down the deforestation here :)

      On a serious note, no matter which market it comes from, the eurpoean, china, middle east or even the malaysian, it will not make any difference in terms of environmental support. Most environmental issues here are governed by political interest and lackadaisical attitude from the law enforcers. Another reason is the loophole in our land and forest gazette policy. Unless some rich Samaritan (regardless which nationality) would buy a forested land, turn into a sanctuary and conserve it. Hahahaha...dream on!

  6. exactly. dream on. no-one in their right minds would do that, in an island where animals are slain in broad daylight, in full view of a road through a resort area. to run a sanctuary, you need the goodwill and co-operation of the people living locally. and so we have come full circle.

  7. as far as trip advisor goes - there are ways to use it. i have, for instance, been able to link to your story about shark attacks at pulau payar. i provided very little comment, just the link, in answer to a question about safety. so far, it has remained up.

  8. Thank you, Pam. Do you have the link to the tripadvisor on the shark attack? I couldn't find it.


    the thread is about sea-jellies - a guest asked a question about safety at p.payar, so it was appropriate to link your article.

  10. Hi Pam,
    Many thanks for helping to link the story to create the awareness.

    Btw, this post contains pictures of the box jellyfish caught in Cenang in year 2010.


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