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USAID WILDLIFE ASIA NEWS ROUND-UP

November 4-10, 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

Wildlife, drug trades cross bloody paths 
Bangkok Post, November 8, 2017
The Golden Triangle -- an area where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet -- has long been notorious. The area is a living example of an illegal playground where drug kingpins and triad members rub shoulders. The Golden Triangle has recently become a new market for illegal products -- endangered species such as parts of tigers, elephants, bears and pangolins, according to a report that exposes the illicit wildlife trafficking in the area. So you might ask: What we should do? First, we must change our beliefs about buying such products. I strongly believe many people learn to consume products made from wildlife animals through family practices, or from friends out of old beliefs that they benefit their health or to boost their social status. 

Shark Fin Trade Faces Troubled Waters As Global Pressure Mounts

NPR, November 7, 2017
At many Chinese restaurants in the United States, there's a special dish called shark fin soup. It's expensive — a delicacy and status symbol in Chinese culture that's served during banquets. The soup is a hotly debated item in both the scientific and political communities, and it's illegal in 12 states, including Hawaii, Illinois and Texas.

Wacky racers rally to raise £1million for Asian elephant
The Ecologist, November 10, 2017
A convoy of adventurers including actor Joshua Jackson, actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia, politician and former editor of The Ecologist Zac Goldsmith and philanthropist Ben Elliot has set off on a charity race across India to raise money for the endangered Asian elephant.

 
LAW ENFORCEMENT

Over 11 million baht worth of pangolin scales and ivory tusks seized at airport
Thai PBS, November 9, 2017 Customs officials seized 116 kilogrammes of ivory tusks and 15 kilogrammes of pangolin scales in cardboard boxes imported from Congo at the cargo warehouse in Suvarnabhumi international airport.

Kedah now a transit point for smuggling pangolins
The Borneo Post,  November 9, 2017
The arrival of winter in China and Vietnam has increased the demand for pangolins to such an extent that Kedah, which is bordering Thailand, has now become the transit point for the smuggling of the protected species.

Sabah Wildlife team foils duo's attempt to sell off pangolin
New Straits Times, November 4, 2017
Sabah wildlife enforcement personnel nabbed two people for illegal possession of a pangolin worth RM880 at Donggongon town. Acting on a tip-off, Sabah Wildlife Department deployed the team to a carpark area at the town to intercept an animal trafficking activity in progress.

Kenyan anti-poaching patrol gets training and equipment from Orange County CSI
Orange County Breeze, November 5, 2017
Trained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Ravi Perera can usually be found meticulously investigating crime scenes for a local police department in northwest Orange County. Twice a year, he can also be found in Kenya, east Africa, training personnel in forensic techniques in support of anti-poaching efforts. He volunteers his time, and arranges for delivery of donated equipment. (The anti-poaching patrols especially need compact digital cameras to record evidence at crime scenes.)

Nine Rhinos Killed By Poachers In Less Than Two Months At Pilanesberg National Park
LAD Bible, November 9, 2017
Poaching rhinos is something we know about but don't hear enough about. Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa deals with this problem on a daily basis. The park, with more than 7,000 animals, has lost a staggering total of nine rhinos in eight weeks, which is less than two months.

Tusks and elephant tails seized in Ivory Coast: NGO
Daily Mail, November 7, 2017
Two tusks and 46 elephant tails have been seized in Ivory Coast, activists said Tuesday, adding that a customs officer acting as an accomplice to traffickers was among four arrested. "Two impressive tusks of 1.6 metres each" were seized by a specialist unit from the Ivorian police force assisted by agents from the ministry for water and forests, nature activist group Eagle said in a press release.

Smuggled, Beaten and Drugged: The Illicit Global Ape Trade
The New York Times, November 4, 2017
The New York Times tracked international ape smugglers from Congolese rain forests to the back streets of Bangkok. Here is what unfolded. MBANDAKA, Democratic Republic of Congo — The sting began, as so many things do these days, on social media. Daniel Stiles, a self-styled ape trafficking detective in Kenya, had been scouring Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp for weeks, looking for pictures of gorillas, chimps or orangutans. He was hoping to chip away at an illicit global trade that has captured or killed tens of thousands of apes and pushed some endangered species to the brink of extinction.

  One Green Planet, November 9, 2017
Great apes are humans’ closest biological kin, but rather than being respected as the highly intelligent and complex individuals that they are, they have long been captured, abused, and exploited by humans primarily for the use of “entertainment.” Society has been conditioned to view these captive apes, many of whom are forced to do unnatural behaviors (like smokingor boxing) and wear human clothing, as humorous spectacles, and people usually do not stop to think about where exactly these apes come from.

Why Uganda can’t beat money laundering yet
The Observer, November 8, 2017
Despite recent reforms in the existing law, Uganda continues to be a high-risk theatre for money laundering, a report by the Finance Intelligence Authority (FIA) has said. The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing National Risk Assessment report tabled before cabinet on August 4, says the country suffers from a low money laundering combating ability. Terrorist funding is channelled through banks and invested in real estate. Main funding sources for terrorism include extortion, misuse of non-profit organisations, remittances, natural resources/wildlife crimes, ransoms, piracy and trade.
 
East Africa’s ivory smuggled out of Mozambican ports
Oxpeckers, November 7, 2017
The modus operandi of ivory smuggling networks was exposed with the recent arrest of a suspected kingpin in the illicit trade from Pemba to China. After tighter monitoring was applied recently at the Dar es Salaam harbour in Tanzania, East African ivory smugglers moved their export hub to northern Mozambique ports. Tanzania remains the logistical centre from where the smuggling networks access money and equipment, but evidence shows they increasingly use Mozambican ports such as Pemba, Nacala and Beira to transfer illicit ivory consignments to Asia.

 

POLICY, LEGAL AND POLITICAL COMMITMENT

Gov’t urged to measure value of wildlife trade

Manila Bulletin, November 8, 2017
The Philippine government is being urged to measure the value of the country’s wildlife trade — which involves the importation and exportation of wild animals and their products — in order to properly monitor a what could be a multi billion dollar industry. Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Theresa Mundita Lim said in an interview that the government must measure the value of the country’s wildlife trade as this could reach to billions.

Indonesian NGOs lawyer up against environmental crimes
Mongabay, November 6, 2017
Several NGOs in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province have established a joint team of legal experts to focus on addressing environmental crimes in the region. “This team is a step forward in our efforts to enforce environmental law and justice,” said Dana Tarigan, executive director of the North Sumatra provincial branch of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), one of the founding members of the coalition.

What has the EU got to do with elephant protection?
New Europe, November 6, 2017
There are two main answers to this question. First, Europeans are global citizens and elephants are an outstanding part of our global treasury of charismatic and irreplaceable wildlife. Secondly, Europe plays a surprisingly significant role in the continuing trade in elephant ivory which threatens their very existence as a species. This needs to be changed fast, and we have an opportunity to do it in the next few weeks.

Việt Nam - Canada Joint statement
Viet Nam News, November 9, 2017
“…6. Canada and Viet Nam will continue to work together to address global challenges, including counter terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and non-traditional challenges such as transnational crimes, climate change, maritime security, food security, water security and to safeguard the environment. Canada and Viet Nam will work to protect biodiversity and habitats from illegal exploitation and trafficking as well as support actions to implement the Ha Noi Statement on the Illegal Wildlife Trade…”

Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative Increasing Crime and Terrorism?
The Diplomat, November 7, 2017
The BRI is a global socioeconomic development strategy, which, according to the Chinese government’s March 2015 charter, “aims to promote the connectivity of Asian, European, and African continents and their adjacent seas” — particularly through vast infrastructure projects and broad deregulatory polices…Ironically, many of the BRI’s transportation projects coincide with and elongate existing trafficking routes. 

Links between corruption and wildlife crime highlighted at UN anti-corruption conference
UNODC, Joint Press release, November 6, 2017
The Secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) spearheaded a number of events at the 7th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC CoSP7, Vienna, 6-10 November 2017) to encourage Parties to both conventions to tackle the corruption associated with illicit wildlife trade.

Wildlife traffickers booked under Prevention of Organised Crime Act
The Himalayan, November 4, 2017
The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police today said it had initiated action against the six persons, including three Indians and a Pakistani national, who were arrested on October 18 with endangered wild animals, under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

 
REGIONAL COLLABORATION AND US GOVERNMENT COORDINATION

US President Trump’s Vietnam visit to open up new cooperation prospects’
Vietnam Net, November 11, 2017
The upcoming State visit of US President Donald Trump to Vietnam on November 11-12 is expected to enable further growth of the Vietnam-US ties in the future. The visit, made in the first year of Trump’s working tenure, is taking place at a time when the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership is progressing, especially after the US visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in May 2017. The two sides have maintained exchanges of delegations and have actively been implementing agreements reached during the visit. During a Vietnam visit by President Barack Obama in May last year, the two sides issued the joint announcements on partnership in climate change and wildlife trafficking combat. Accordingly, the US will support Vietnam with 60 million USD to cope with climate change and another 10 million USD to fight wildlife trafficking in five years.

$5-million GEF-funded project to boost drive against wildlife trafficking
Business Mirror, November 6, 2017
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will start next year the implementation of a $5-million capacity-building project to combat wildlife trafficking. Environment Undersecretary for Climate Change Analiza R. Teh said the three-year project titled “Combatting Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines” will be implemented under the Global Wildlife Program. It has three major components, namely: 1) reforming and mainstreaming policy, legal and regulatory instruments; 2) enabling institutional capacity development in tactical operations addressing wildlife crimes; and 3) reducing demand for illegal wildlife trade products and derivatives.
 
Vietnam-China collaborate to combat illegal wildlife trade
Custom News, November 7, 2017
The training workshop on of cooperation between Vietnam and China in preventing and fighting against illegal wildlife trade was held by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Anti-Smuggling in Guangxi province, China from 1st to 2nd   November 2017.  40 representatives of central and local law enforcement agencies from 2 countries including Customs, Border Guard, Environmental Police and Forest Protection of Quang Ninh (Vietnam) and Guangxi (China) attended the training workshop.

Secretary Zinke Announces Creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council – To Show the Benefits of U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad to Hunt
Sierra Sun Times, November 9, 2017
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. The Council will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior. It will focus on increased public awareness domestically regarding conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt.

Sumatran rhinos' last chance of survival
The Jakarta Post, November 7, 2017
Delilah, a young female rhino, was leaning against her mother, Ratu, and demanded attention. The smart calf was playfully running around her mother. Ignoring the baby’s behavior, Ratu guided Delilah back to their enclosed compound. The rhinos live in a dense forest within the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) at Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) in Lampung province. The Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI) manages the park, where Delilah’s horn markings on tree trunks prevent her from getting lost. 
 
Turkish Airlines supports fight against illegal wildlife trade
Trade Arabia, November 7, 2017
Turkish Airlines is one among a total of 41 carriers that have signed the “United for Wildlife Buckingham Palace Declaration (UFW)”, which aims to stop illegal wildlife trade. The declaration was approved today by Turkish Airlines. The declaration, which was on the agenda of the 73rd IATA Annual General Meeting held in Cancun, Mexico in June, was signed by institutions such as ACI, AFRAA, AASA and London Heathrow Airport, who hoped to stop the illegal trade of tusk, rhino horn and tortoise shell as well as increase passenger, customer, client, and staff awareness about the nature, scale, and consequences of the illegal wildlife trade.

 
EVENTS

Thai Environmental NGOs Network Meeting
Organizer: USAID Wildlife Asia
Date: November 16, 2017
Venue: Bangkok
Contact: Eleanora de Guzman

USAID Wildlife Asia Team Coordination Meeting
Organizer: USAID Wildlife Asia
Date: November 20-22, 2017
Venue: Beijing, China
Contact: Eleanora de Guzman


 
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