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USAID WILDLIFE ASIA NEWS ROUND-UP

November 18-December 1, 2017

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: dararat.weerapong@usaidwildlifeasia.org


CONSUMER DEMAND REDUCTION/CAMPAIGNS/BUSINESS

Chinese internet giants launch alliance to combat wildlife cybercrime
TRAFFIC, November 22, 2017
Internet companies based in China today announced the formation of a new alliance to combat wildlife cybercrime. The move was initiated by three China-based internet giants—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—and supported by an additional 8 Chinese internet companies.

 
Kenyan campaigners set for a walk to raise awareness on elephant poaching
Xinhua, November 29, 2017
A group of Kenyan wildlife campaigners on Wednesday announced they will embark on a lengthy walk in Britain to raise awareness on the plight of African elephants whose survival is at stake due to poaching and climatic stresses.

Asian elephants are now being killed for their skin
National Geographic, November 29, 2017
The smell was ghastly and the sight even worse. Twenty-five elephants lay dead in a riverbed in the Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy) delta in southwestern Myanmar. “The stench is what led villagers to the bodies in the first place,” says Aung Myo Chit, the Smithsonian Institution’s Myanmar country coordinator, who also leads a local NGO, Growth for Prosperity, that helps rural residents avoid deadly conflicts with elephants.

Kuala Lumpur Airport hosts roadshow to raise awareness of wildlife trafficking by air 
TRAFFIC, November 27, 2018
The message that passengers, airports and airlines can play major role in combatting wildlife trafficking was shared with thousands of travellers and flight crew at a recent roadshow at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which has seen dozens of wildlife seizures in the past year. This message was delivered through the Anti Human & Wildlife Trafficking Roadshow, organized by Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) which includes the country’s flagship airline Malaysia Airlines Berhad.
 
Highlanders fight to save their giant friends
Viet Nam News, November 29, 2017
Y Tât Knul, 56, often leads his elephant Bun Koong to bathe and soak in the stream to escape the heat of the summer. For him, Bun Koong is a member of the family. The elephant is also attached to him. Knul shares many stories about his elephant and the role of the animals in the life of the Mnông people in Đôn Village in the Central Highlands Province of Đắk Lắk in an exhibition titled "Elephants in the Central Highlands".

 
LAW ENFORCEMENT

China confiscates 12 tonnes of endangered pangolin scales in the country’s biggest seizure
South China Morning Post, November 30, 2017
Nearly 12 tonnes of smuggled pangolin scales have been confiscated by Chinese officials -- the country’s largest-ever seizure of the endangered mammal’s prized parts as it seeks to curb illegal trafficking. The latest stockpile of scales was seized at a port in the southern city of Shenzhen this July and likely taken from between 20,000 to 30,000 slaughtered pangolins, Xinhua reported.

Malaysia seizes 337 kg of pangolin scales worth nearly $1 million
Mongabay, November 30, 2017
Malaysian customs officials have seized 337 kilograms of pangolin scales from Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s mail and courier center. The scales had been mailed from the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah, located on the island of Borneo, in 13 different boxes, and were being exported to Hong Kong.

Elephant trophies legal to import in Canada
November 28, 2017
In the last decade, Canadians have legally imported more than 2,600 trophy animals that are on an international list of endangered species. The imports also include thousands of animal skins, skulls, feet, ears, tusks, horns and tails of everything from antelope to zebras from all corners of the earth.

eBay is outselling the darknet in the illegal wildlife trade, fret researchers
Mongabay, November 22, 2017
Repeated searches of markets on the dark web have found negligible trace of illegal wildlife products. This news is troubling, conservationists say, because it suggests that traders are content to sell wildlife products on mainstream websites like eBay, where they rely on the sheer volume of transactions and lack of regulation to mask their activity. Regulating the wildlife trade on sites like eBay can be complex because the legality of sales is difficult to establish. Developing computer systems capable of monitoring and policing online transactions — holds promise for enforcement on the surface web, but is currently hampered by online market operators’ failure to engage with the issue.

Malaysia Airlines to train staff in spotting victims of human trafficking
Human Resources Online, November 30, 2017
Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) will be training its employees to detect potential human traffickers and their victims among passengers. Earlier this month (15 Nov), Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) declared zero-tolerance for human and wildlife trafficking, at the launch of its anti-human and anti-wildlife trafficking campaign at KL International Airport (KLIA).

One arrested with 150kgs of Ivory
The Independent (Kenya), November 28, 2017
Police with help of the Natural Resources Conservation Network carried out an operation in Pakwach district and arrested Opunya Edwin. He was arrested while in possession of four pieces of Ivory worth 60 million shillings. The 26 year old, an Acholi by tribe was arrested with 150kgs of Ivory. He has currently been transferred to Central Police station Kampala for further interrogations and arraignment at the wildlife court Buganda Road.
 
330 Indian star tortoises seized at airport 
Bangkok Post, November 30, 2017
A total of 330 Indian star tortoises hidden in three suitcases left at Suvarnabhumi airport were seized. Customs officials found the three suspected suitcases near the sixth baggage conveyor-belt at Suvarnabhumi airport.


POLICY, LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMITMENT

EU, Japan in the spotlight over failure to close ivory markets
Daily Nation, November 30, 2017
The EU and Japan have an obligation to ensure domestic trade in ivory does not contribute to poaching. The US is also in the limelight after President Trump’s administration said it would allow hunters to import trophies.


REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND US GOVERNMENT COORDINATION

Electronic surveillance may save the rhino
The Economist, November 9, 2017
For each of the past three years South Africa has lost more than 1,000 rhinos to poachers, despite intensive efforts to protect them using armed rangers, drones and specially trained tracker dogs. Guarding rhinos is particularly difficult because they roam across vast areas of veld where poachers can hide easily. But two novel approaches using artificial intelligence may help rangers catch their hunters.
 
Trump’s indecision on trophy hunting reignites heated debate
November 28, 2017
On November 15, the Trump Administration announced it was lifting the Obama-era ban on importing elephant trophies to the U.S. from Zimbabwe and Zambia. Reaction was negative, swift and brutal, coming from media outlets, animal welfare advocates and some, though not all, conservationists. Two days later, Trump himself intervened via Twitter, putting the decision on hold with a promise of later action.
 
Global Wildlife Program
Second Directory, November 30, 2017
November The GWP is a World-Bank led global partnership that promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable development by combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife. This seven-year, $131 million grant program is expected to leverage an additional $704 million in additional co-financing from a wide range of partners to promote investments across Africa and Asia. 

EVENT

Expert Workshop on Developing Relevant Indicators in Law Enforcement Capacity Development for CWT
Organizer: USAID Wildlife Asia
Date: January 2018
Venue:
USAID Wildlife Asia Office, Bangkok
Contact: Pakprim Oranop Na Ayuthaya
 
RESOURCE


Pangolin Species Identification Guide: A Rapid Assessment Tool for Field and Desk

This guide is designed to help law enforcement officers confidently identify the eight species of pangolin, and when possible, body parts and scales even when removed from the animal.
 
OPPORTUNITY

Chief of Party, USAID Wildlife Asia

The Chief of Party (COP) will deliver leadership and oversight across all objectives, working closely with and directly managing the Objective 1, 2, and 3 Leads to ensure integration of interventions across the Activity. The COP will lead Objective 4 to secure coordination with stakeholders and interagency efforts needed to support Wildlife Asia activities being implemented under the other three objectives. The COP will be responsible for maximizing the contributions, effectiveness and support from the large consortium of subcontractors. Read more.
Copyright © 2017, USAID Wildlife Asia, All rights reserved.

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