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Regulatory protection of Asian elephants in Peninsular Malaysia and the Convention on Biological Diversity

E. L. LEE, MARIANI ARIFFIN, LATIFAH ABD. MANAF

Abstract


The Asian elephant was recognised as being ‘endangered’ in the IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species 2017. Given that Malaysia is one of the 194 parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Malaysia should address the CBD obligations that influence the current wildlife conservation trend across the globe. In Peninsular Malaysia, the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (WCA) was implemented to tackle primary issues related to Asian elephants; hence, it is imperative to analyse the CBD obligations related to Asian elephant conservation and the extent that the WCA addresses the CBD obligations. The CBD convention text and decisions between 2004 and 2014 were analysed to gather the obligations and sub-obligations related to Asian elephant conservation. Next, the
obligations and sub-obligations were categorised into themes and subthemes inductively and presented as a CBD checklist. Then, the WCA was read and examined against the checklist to determine to what extent the WCA addresses the obligations and sub-obligations. The study indicates that the WCA mainly addresses the protection and conservation of elephant habitats and the genetic resources, including sustainable use through a system of licences, permits, and special permits. However, disputes between the Federal and State governments, abuse of permits, the possible de-gazettement of protected areas, and the penalisation involving immature elephants bred in captivity should be considered and revised. The WCA also addressed the access to elephants’ genetic resources
and the sharing of the benefits brought about by the utilisation of elephants’ genetic resources through a similar system of licences, permits, and special permits. Nevertheless, the WCA has excluded provisions to address issues relating to access to technology and the transfer of technology related to conservation and the sustainable use of elephants’ genetic resources.


Keywords


Asian elephants, Peninsular Malaysia, Convention on Biological Diversity, Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716), thematic content analysis.

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