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February 3-9, 2018

The USAID Wildlife Asia compiles news reports on combating wildlife trafficking, and other useful information. This is circulated to subscribers weekly. To contribute to this news round-up, please contact Dararat Weerapong, Communications, Outreach and Learning Specialist:


Hong Kong’s ivory trade is dead but it remains a hub for other endangered species
Quartz, February 7, 2018
Hong Kong recently passed a law to outlaw ivory trading in the city in four years time. That’s good news for elephants. Other animals, however, still aren’t faring well in the city, which remains a busy and lucrative trading hub for all sorts of endangered flora and fauna. Most of these products are bound for China, with its voracious demand for all kinds of animals and their by-products for use in traditional medicine.

‘Tiger temple’ to reopen as tiger zoo
Khaosod, February 7, 2018
Thailand’s most infamous tiger petting zoo may not have used up its nine lives when it was raided and shut down following gruesome discoveries two years ago. Though closure of the so-called Tiger Temple was hailed as a victory for wildlife protection, national park officials and the head of an animal welfare organization confirmed it will reopen this month – with 24 new tigers. stops letting Alaska Native artists sell ivory work
ABC News, February 6, 2018
A policy intended to deter the illegal trade of ivory and items made with the parts of endangered or threatened animals led the online sales website Etsy to remove such artwork sold by Alaska Native artists, who can legally use ivory in their pieces.


Top ivory investigator murdered in Kenya
The Guardian, February 5, 2018
Esmond Bradley Martin, A well-known American ivory-trade investigator, who pioneered efforts to combat elephant and rhino poaching, has been killed in his home in Nairobi, prompting an outpouring of shock and revulsion across the conservation world.

Italian-Thai boss charged with hunting in sanctuary 
Bangkok Post, February 6, 2018
Construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta has been arrested for allegedly hunting wildlife in the World Heritage Thungyai Naresuan sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province. Officials found skinned carcasses of protected wild animals, including a 1.48-metre-long black panther, a Kalij Pheasant and a barking deer, three long-barrelled guns and ammunition in his possession. (similar story with reference to NGOs call: Thai construction magnate arrested for hunting in sanctuaryWashington Post, February 6, 2018)

Rifles, ivory found in construction magnate's home
Khao Sod, February 6, 2018
A well-publicized raid on a powerful construction firm president’s home turned up ivory and weapons which officers said were all in order. After a three-hour search of the home of Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development, police from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division found five rifles and a pair of elephant tusks. After being briefly held Monday, Premchai was charged yesterday with poaching wildlife in a national park.

Park official admits of a “deal” being offered in hunting scandal
Thai PBS, February 7, 2018
A senior park official has admitted that members of Italian-Thai Development Plc president Premchai Karnasuta’s hunting party tried to negotiate with wildlife officials who made the arrest to drop the case against them in exchange for “whatever you want, we will arrange it for you”.

US Busts a Chinese Golden Triangle Billionaire
Asia Sentinel, February 6, 2018
Speculation that something about the GT-SEZ was fishy was always in the air, but the extent of the accusations leveled from Washington is staggering. US officials describe Zhao Wei, a billionaire from northeastern China, as the leader of a group that engages in “an array of horrendous illicit activities, including human trafficking and child prostitution, drug trafficking, and wildlife trafficking.”  The US government has frozen the suspects’ assets and prohibited US individuals from doing business with them. Su and Rungtawankhiri, a director, are accused of moving money illegally for the operation.

Leader of Wildlife Trafficking Ring "Hydra" Arrested in Thailand
Sierra, February 3, 2018
On January 19, Thai police arrested Bach “Boonchai” Mai, a notorious Vietnamese wildlife trafficker, for his alleged role in smuggling 14 rhino horns from Africa to Thailand. His capture was immediately hailed as a major victory in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. “I can’t think of anything in the past five years that has been this significant,” Matthew Pritchett, spokesperson for the anti-trafficking group Freeland, told the Associated Press. 

Thousands of disemboweled pangolins found
Taipei Times, February 3, 2018
More than 13 tonnes, or about 4,000, descaled and disemboweled pangolins, that were smuggled into Taiwan from Malaysia, discovered in a cargo container at Kaohsiung’s Pier 66, the Kaohsiung Customs Administration Office said, adding that it has launched an investigation to track the group behind the illegal imports. 

Petition filed over Siberian tiger death 
Bangkok Post, February 5, 2018
A private organisation has filed a complaint involving the death of “Cracker”, a Siberian tiger, at the Ubon Ratchathani zoo in April 13 last year. It was not until six days later that the zoo sent the samples and organs of the animal for an autopsy at a provincial medical science unit. The unit later revealed the animal had been poisoned with carbofuran. Vet Wanchai Tanwattana, the zoo’s chief, had sent an official to report to police on April 27 that one or more thieves had broken into the zoo’s veterinary hospital and stolen the skin of the dead tiger. 

Japanese ivory trader arrested on suspicion of smuggling ivory to China
TRAFFIC, February 8, 2018
Police in Japan last week arrested the director of a government-accredited ivory retail outlet on suspicion of attempting to smuggle ivory to China in contravention of national and international regulations. According to media reports, the 47 year-old suspect was detained following the arrest of a Chinese sailor attempting to board a vessel in Tokyo Port who was found to be in possession of 605 ivory nameseal pieces. 

Man Arrested for Selling Sumatran Tiger and Sun Bear Body Parts on Facebook
Jakarta Globe, February 6, 2018
Officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry have arrested a 32-year-old man for selling body parts of protected Sumatran tigers and sun bears on Facebook. Officials seized several pieces of evidence, including a tiger skin rug, tiger claw necklace, four tiger claws, two tiger skin wallets, two tiger paws with claws removed, two tiger skin waist straps, a tiger skin sling bag, five sun bear fangs, three sun bear claws with ornamental rings and a sun bear claw necklace. Investigations are still continuing to determine the origin of the animals and identify potential accomplices.


Ivory trade banned in Hong Kong by 2021
Eco-Business, February 5, 2018
In a historic move, 49 Hong Kong lawmakers voted on Jan. 31 to end all domestic ivory trade by 2021 and passed the Endangered Species of Animals and Plants (Amendment) Bill 2017, also called the Hong Kong Ivory Ban Bill. Only four legislators voted against the ban. 

National Efforts Continue to Curb Ivory Trade, Protect Elephant Populations
ICTSD/Bridges, February 8, 2018
Last week, Hong Kong lawmakers signed off on legislation which would outlaw all sales of ivory by the beginning of the year 2022. The bill, which would be implemented gradually over that timeframe, includes hefty penalties for offenders and would also require the disposal of ivory stocks, among other provisions.

How will the UK's proposed ivory regulations affect the trade?
The Art Newspaper, February 6, 2018
The UK is to impose tough new regulations on ivory sales, which will inevitably have an impact on antiques. However, the leading art trade and museum bodies now fully support the ban, as long as it includes the government’s four proposed exemptions. The existing regulations only outlaw the sale of items made after 1947, a date set because it was 50 years before the introduction of the European Union’s Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997.


Biggest big cat count starts
The Telegraph India, February 7, 2018
India has launched a fresh tiger counting exercise, the world's largest wildlife estimation effort, amid lingering concerns about poaching and the challenges of creating and protecting 32 corridors to help tigers move safely between protected areas. Wildlife biologists and forest officials will in the coming months trudge through tiger habitats across the country, deploy over 14,000 cameras at strategic points in the wild and use mathematical models for a tiger population estimate for 2018, the fourth such exercise since 2006.

Tanzania, China hail cooperation on wildlife conservation
February 7, 2018
Tanzanian and Chinese officials and diplomats Tuesday hailed the two countries' cooperation in wildlife conservation. "China has also spared no effort to advocate for wildlife conservation and educate the Chinese community in Tanzania on the importance of raising awareness on wildlife protection," said Xu Chen, Minister-Counselor of Chinese embassy in Tanzania.

China launches monitoring for Siberian tigers, Amur leopards

Xinhuanet, February 8, 2018
China Thursday launched a monitoring system to track and manage the natural habitat of endangered Siberian tigers and Amur leopards living in the country's northeastern regions. More than 100 cameras and other devices have been installed in Hunchun, Jilin Province, covering a 500-square-km area where the two species are frequently seen, which will be part of the future Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park.

Counter Transnational Organized Crime Training Workshop
February 2-9, 2018
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
Contact: Salvatore Amato

i2 Analyst Notebook Training For Anti-money Laundering Office
February 12-13, and March 5-6, 2018
Anti-Money Laundering Office, Bangkok
Contact: Salvatore Amato

Webinar: Applying behavioural science to complex world problems
February 15, 1 PM GMT/ 8 PM ICT
Pete Dyson, a Senior Behavioural Strategist, Ogilvy Change, will discuss how you can apply behavioural science and nudge theory to fix complex real-world problems, such as curbing illegal wildlife trade. Click for more info and join.

World Pangolin Day
February 17, 2018

Technical Writer
USAID Wildlife Asia is looking for a Technical Writer to join our team. This is a full-time position, and based in Bangkok. The Technical Writer will work on drafting and editing all USAID required reporting documents, including technical abstracts and documents, reports, communications outreach materials including storyboards, press releases, invitations as well as proofread, edit and provide clarity for all staff external outputs. Deadline for application is on February 9, 2018. For more information, please check this link

On-Line Tool Kit to Help Protect Wildlife
Freeland presents an online toolkit, publicly available and free to use, to share some of its best tools and assets to assist those working in and involved in counter wildlife trafficking. The tools include: innovative approaches to counter poaching; investigation training; community support; methodologies to analyze and strengthen laws and policies; behavior change and outreach campaigning; building enforcement networks; and species identification. They cater to the needs of corporations, civil society and law enforcement and were developed with the generous financial and technical support of ASEAN Member States, Blue Moon Fund, Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the United States Government. 
Copyright © 2018, USAID Wildlife Asia, All rights reserved.

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