JOHOR BARU: Illegal activities involving smuggling and sales of rare wild orchids could lead to the extinction of the endangered species and disrupt the biodiversity of Malaysian jungles.
Technical adviser to the Malaysian Nature Society, Vincent Chow said such illegal activities must be curbed to ensure that such species do not disappear from existence.
“In Johor, traders of wild orchids are now focused on a specie that grows in the high grounds of Gunung Belumut and Gunung Ledang. We must put a stop to such activities or lose our heritage in the jungles,” Chow said.
According to Chow, smuggling and illegal sales of wild orchid species in Gunung Panti near Kota Tinggi had resulted in the extinction of the species. He said the most sort after wild orchid species was the Paphiopedilum Barbatum, which could fetch RM5,000 to RM10,000 a plant.
“Smuggling wild orchids and selling them to international clients through the internet has become a lucrative business.
“Those involved are blinded by money and are willing to compromise the biodiversity of our jungles.
“Orchid lovers are willing to buy wild orchids through the internet even though such practice is illegal under the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITEs),” Chow said. —Bernama.