It is well known that protected animals in Malaysia are being hunted for their meat, hide, tusks etc for alleged medicinal purposes- in other words, the animals will end up dead.
Recently, however, it was reported in the Star that powerful towkays in Sarawak are buying endangered animals to be kept as pets.
Middlemen pay native trappers handsomely to capture these animals alive which are then sold in the black market, as demand has apparently increased in Sarawak.
The rich towkays display these exotic animals such as bears, rare monkeys, birds and reptiles in their homes as status symbols.
A private farm was reported to have a variety of animals including macaques and gibbons. Even sun bears were available.
Just as the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow said, humans strive to achieve a hierarchy of needs, in life. When basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, safety etc are satisfied, people will pursue other goals - needs. In this day and age, money is pursued to fullfill these needs. Therefore when someone pursues money, he or she is not pursuing money per se but money to purchase goods and services to fulfill these needs that Maslow's theory describes. To Maslow, esteem needs - the need for respect ranks 2nd highest in his hierarchy of needs. These towkays are purchasing these animals to get status (respect) - they are therefore purchasing respect. Is it because they feel that they don't have enough of it ?