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USAID WILDLIFE ASIA NEWS ROUND-UP

February 17-23, 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: dararat.weerapong@usaidwildlifeasia.org


CONSUMER DEMAND REDUCTION/CAMPAIGNS/BUSINESS

China's lust for jaguar fangs imperils big cats
Nature, February 23, 2018
Wildlife traffickers in South America seek body parts from protected species to satisfy demand in Asia. The jaguar was found floating in a drainage canal in Belize City, Belize, on the day after Christmas last year. Its body was mostly intact, but the head was missing its fangs. On 10 January, a second cat — this time, an ocelot that may have been mistaken for a young jaguar — turned up headless in the same channel. The killings point to a growing illicit trade in jaguars (Panthera onca) that disturbs wildlife experts. The cats’ fangs, skulls and hides have long been trophies for Latin American collectors who flout international prohibitions against trading in jaguar parts. But in recent years, a trafficking route has emerged to China, where the market for jaguars could be increasing because of crackdowns on the smuggling of tiger parts used in Chinese traditional medicine.

Helmeted hornbill extinction imminent due to Chinese lust for ‘red ivory’
Review Online, February 19, 2018
Unless poaching can be stopped, the Chinese demand for ‘red ivory’ will see the extinction of the helmeted hornbill. The beak of the helmeted hornbill bird has become the latest must-have item in the world of illegal wildlife trading, Bosveld Review reports. With increasing demand for its casque (its enlarged beak and headpiece), poaching of the species has shot up in the past five years.

‘End the slaughter’
Barrhead News, February 23, 2018
Paul Masterton attended an event at Westminster organised by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endangered Species to highlight the illegal ivory trade. He was able to view some of the many ivory items recently donated by members of the public to IFAW’s UK ivory surrender. IFAW invited people to surrender their own ivory to be destroyed as part of a campaign to close the UK’s ivory market and save this iconic species from the threat of extinction.

 
LAW ENFORCEMENT

Pangolins found in a pickup truck after a road accident in Sukhothai
Thai PBS, February 17, 2018
Ban Suan police who rushed to the scene of a road accident in Muang district of Sukhothai Friday night (Feb 16) found to their surprise that the driver of a pickup truck which plunged into a roadside ditch was nowhere to be seen but left behind 24 pangolins, one pangolin carcass and five kilogrammes fo pangolin scales. Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is marking World Pangolin Day today (Feb 17) by unveiling a new guide to help law enforcement officers identify species and origins of pangolins in a bid to curb the illegal trade in wildlife.

New study sheds light on illegal global trade of pangolins
EurekAlert, February 17, 2018
The solitary mammals - sought after for their meat and scales - are being transported across remote forest borders in a largely successful attempt to avoid increased law enforcement, according to groundbreaking research led by the University of Stirling. In the first ever study to investigate how criminals are sourcing pangolins from African forests, experts found that local hunters in Gabon are selling increasing numbers of the animals to Asian workers stationed on the continent for major logging, oil exploration and agro-industry projects. In another significant finding, the team discovered that the price for giant pangolins has risen at more than 45 times the rate of inflation between 2002 and 2014.

Decline in elephant poaching could be short-lived
Institute for Security Studies, February 19, 2018
Elephant poaching in Africa has dropped for five consecutive years to levels last witnessed over a decade ago. The latest report by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on the status of elephants and ivory trade reveals a welcome indication of gains made, and links this to better law enforcement. The report indicates that 2016 saw ‘the highest level of seizures of illegally traded ivory by weight since commercial international trade was banned by CITES in 1989.’

Indonesia Sumatran elephant found dead from suspected gunshots
News 24, February 19, 2018
An elephant from the critically endangered Sumatran species has been found dead inside an Indonesian national park with what appear to be bullet wounds, the environment ministry said. The female elephant was discovered in Sumatra's Way Kambas National Park on Monday.Her trunk was broken off and she had five holes resembling gunshot wounds on the right side of her body.

CITES Ignores Illegal Import of Wild Elephants by China
Environment News Service, February 20, 2018
In the last two years, China has imported more than 80 live Asian elephants from across its border in Laos and almost 100 juvenile African elephants from Zimbabwe. They were all destined for zoos throughout China. According to wildlife investigator and film-maker, Karl Ammann, last year Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith publicly declared the trade in live elephants illegal under national laws.

Cross-border investigation: Pangolin poaching in Africa and trafficking to Asia
Daily Maverick, February 23, 2018
Pangolins are being hunted and killed in vast numbers. The animal’s meat is considered a culinary delicacy in Asia and its scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. In 2017, the Africa-China Reporting Project collaborated with HK01, a Hong Kong news agency, and Anu Nkeze Paul, an environmental journalist in Cameroon, to investigate both the African supply side and the Asian demand side of the illegal trade in pangolin products. The result of these international investigations illustrated how pangolins are being hunted to extinction in Africa. Their scales are transported from African villages to cities, after which Chinese middlemen ship them to Asia via an elaborate criminal smuggling network that passes through Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Mainland China.

 

POLICY, LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMITMENT

Japan clamping down on domestic trade in old ivory stock
Asahi Shimbun, February 23, 2018
The excuse “I had it at home” will no longer wash with the Environment Ministry if it catches anyone trying to profit from elephant tusks under a new clampdown on illegal ivory trading.
Smarting from international criticism that Japan is not doing enough to deter poachers from killing elephants, the ministry will require owners of tusks to provide unshakeable documentation they acquired the items before the Washington Convention banning ivory trade came into effect in 1989. The new rule takes effect from summer 2019 at the earliest.

10-Year Plan Aims to Save Myanmar’s Wild Elephants from Poachers
The Irrawaddy, February 20, 2018
Amid a rise in illegal poaching of wild elephants in Myanmar, the government last week launched an action plan to protect the animals, supported by international and local organizations. The Myanmar Elephant Conservation Action Plan (MECAP) lays out a focused elephant conservation strategy for the next 10 years (2018–27) with the overall aim of securing viable and ecologically functional elephant populations in Myanmar for the next century and beyond.

Time for an African to be CITES Secretary General
The Southern Times (Africa), February 23, 2018
The secretary general of the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), Australia-born John Scanlon, has announced that he will be resigning in April 2018. Pro-sustainable use environmentalists worldwide, including CITES former secretary general Eugene Lapointe, have greeted the news of Scanlon’s resignation with a call for the appointment of a well-qualified African, as new CITES secretary general.  Historical records of CITES personnel show that no one from the African continent has ever been appointed as secretary general.

 
REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND US GOVERNMENT COORDINATION

USAID funds $48m project in Southeastern Myanmar
Myanmar Times, February 25, 2018
As part of the US agency’s “Advancing Community Empowerment in Southeastern Myanmar” project, four local organisations will use the funds to help increase job opportunities, and improve services in health, education, and water and sanitation, which will strengthen local communities in Kayah State. “The Advancing Community Empowerment in Southeastern Myanmar project will award five more grants for services in Kayin and Mon states in the coming month,” said the statement.

PREDICT: A One Health Preventive Effort
American Veterinarian, February 22, 2018
PREDICT is a venture of USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats program, led by the One Health Institute at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), School of Veterinary Medicine. The project is a worldwide collaboration to detect zoonotic dis-eases at the wildlife–human interface. In the 7 years since it began, PREDICT has worked with more than 30 countries to develop and employ standardized approaches for collecting and sharing data across One Health platforms.

 
EVENTS

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


USAID Wildlife Asia Communications Workshop
February 28, 2018
USAID Asia Regional Training Center, Bangkok
Contact: Dararat Weerapong

World Wildlife Day
March 3, 2018
Worldwide 
website

 
RESOURCE

Mambeya MM, Baker F, Momboua BR, et al. The emergence of a commercial trade in pangolins from Gabon. Afr J Ecol. 2018;00:1–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12507

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