The Lizard King is back

Al Jazeera broadcast a very useful expose of the illegal wildlife trade a couple of weeks ago. It focused on the Lizard King, a Malaysian trader who was jailed after being found importing lizards and other endangered species from Madagascar. He is now out of jail and in business despite a ban from the authorities. The officials in Malaysia are portrayed as either complicit or helpless to do anything to stop the King trading.

All is which underlines how “winning the war” against this illegal trade is undermined by the relatively large financial incentives for poorly paid officials to turn a blind eye or take a cut. “Taking down the kingpins” does not seem to happen and when it does there is always another trader willing to step in to take over this lucrative business.

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