sign in a cave in Laos

4 March 2014

Stealing cave crystals for a gallery

The removal of crystals from caves in Malaysia is widespread. I blogged about this in October 2011.
There is no protection for the caves. In fact the removal of crystals and speleothems is encouraged in the northern states as it provides an income for the locals who can then sell the crystals themselves outside the cave, or sell them on to a 'middle man'. There have even been documentaries on TV about this. See more on my Caves of Malaysia page.

The Star on 28 Feb 2014 published an article "Treasures from the cave", which described how a man in Penang has amassed cave crystals over 10 years, from northern Malaysia, and is now displaying them in a gallery and charging an entrance fee.

I wrote a letter to The Star and it was published on 4 March :

Letters

Published: Tuesday March 4, 2014            

Reaping profit from 'stolen' treasures

 
I WAS sad to read “Treasures from the cave” (The Star, Feb 28) about the new crystal gallery in Penang.
The article mentioned how the collection of crystals from caves was amassed over 10 years and all from the northern region of peninsula Malaysia.
The cave crystals found in stalactites and stalagmites took millions of years to form. Once removed, they will not be replaced.
Despite what the article said, they are beautiful in their natural setting in the cave and they all contribute to the attraction of the cave formations.
In many countries, removing speleothems such as stalactites and crystals from caves is a serious offence.
Sadly, Malaysia has no such protection for its caves.
It fact it is almost encouraged, especially in the northern states.
This is akin to stealing from Mother Nature, and then charging people to see the stolen goods.

LIZ PRICE
Kuala Lumpur

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I have also archived it on my website.

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