Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Your Letters Are Making A Difference

Great news!

On July 13, Raihana's story on Naomi was published in full in the NST, the way it was posted on our blog. When Davina submitted her Petition, it had over 230 signatures. We shall post details of this Petition on this blog at a later date. Thank you all so very much for your support in signing it.

In the first week of July, Naomi's story received coverage in the Berita Harian. We are still trying to get a copy as Davina only just heard about it.

Also, if you have been reading the newspapers lately, you will find more stories on the baby elephant, Mardos. Thanks to all of you who have been writing, the newspapers have pressed on to get to the bottom of Mardos' case.

Many letters not only flooded The Star, which broke the story through Hilary Chiew's article, Jumbo Knocking On Death's Door, but also the NST. In an unprecedented move, the NST too printed these letters although the story did not appear in that newspaper.

The RSC also called on supporters to write letters, however short, because it is very important to clock-in the number of concerned voices.

An article in The Star on July 13 reports that the head of the National Elephant Conservation Centre in Kuala Gandah, Nasharuddin Othman, "accused 'irresponsible quarters' of trying to tarnish the image of the centre and that of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks".

It would have been better if he had explained the issues raised in Hilary Chiew's first story in The Star. Many worrying factors such as:

1.Why Mardos was taken to a veterinarian after two days of his accident, despite the pain he must have been in;

2. Why the staff did not follow protocol in transporting Mardos;

3. Why elephants need to be taken for "shows" as if they were running a circus and not a sanctuary; and

4. Why elephants at the sanctuary were "all skin and bones", despite the fact that it receives huge sums of money, went unanswered.

Wisely, people continued to write, demanding the answers. And on July 16, in the Focus section, Hilary Chiew's very commendable article gave a further update on Mardos. She mentions the many comments from the public - again authenticating the RSC's firm stand that every voice MAKES A DIFFERENCE - including the letters that were never posted, and the phone calls that were never mentioned.

Hilary's latest article, entitled Sanctuary In The Spotlight, once again raised the questions that were never answered since her first article. Better still, her latest piece raised even more questions. Among others, Hillary's article stated:

"Repeated calls and a voice message left on the centre's mobile number published in Perhilitan's website were not returned. The centre chief Nasharuddin Othman was reported as saying that it received a grant of RM700,000 but did not distinguish the source of funding. Questions on public donations and the finances of the Elephant Trust Fund which were faxed to Perhilitan went unanswered."

The article ends with this comment: "One may argue that the so-called sanctuary has fulfilled its role in raising awareness and instilling love for the elephants but, sadly, the same value appears to have eluded its own personnel; the very people entrusted with the duties to save these ill-fated creatures, especially when funding doesn't seem to be a problem."

On the same day her article appeared, The Star carried a story on logging that is about to destroy two beautiful paradises in Sabah, which were initially promised protection by the Government on March 15. These two forest reserves were called "Malaysia's biodiversity gift to the world by the end of 2007".

Question is, will there be anything to be bequeathed to the world once it has been raped by logging, and more animals, like Mardos, lose their mothers and natural habitats?

In the Letters page of today's NST (July 17), an item from the Director-General of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks entitled "Learning from jumbo’s death" was published. Once again, none of the very worrying issues and questions raised by the public and Hilary's article were ever addressed. However, the Director-General claims investigations are ongoing.

He also refers to Mardos' legs being "sprained" when all the reports and veterinary diagnosis published in the Press said the baby elephant's legs were "fractured". There is even a photo of baby Mardos' leg in a cast. It seems that the Director-General does not even realise the vast difference between a "sprain" and a "fracture".

Once again, the RSC thanks all of you for writing to the newspapers. Through this report, we want you to see for yourself how your letters are making a difference to the animals that cannot speak for themselves.