As part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) – funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program, more than 50 partner organizations and governments are working together to protect the region’s biodiversity.
The following are highlights of collaborative efforts to stop wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia and China.
In the second week of December, the ASEAN-WEN’s official species identification and response application, WildScan, was presented to government representatives, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders at the Heart of Borneo Biodiversity Conservation workshop.
Over 100 anti-wildlife crime public service announcement (PSA) displays were placed in airports of five major cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an and Wuhan in mid-October and for three months onward.
In early December, 10 parliamentarians from Southeast Asia joined a three-day trip to Thailand to meet with rangers undergoing training and help strategize how best to support them in their work to protect wildlife in the region.
“Run for Rhinos,” a 5 to 10 kilometer run to raise awareness on protecting the species organized by Education for Nature-Vietnam, took place in Hanoi on December 13.
Over the two weeks bridging November and December, Education for Nature-Vietnam under ARREST program held six wildlife trade exhibitions and three university seminar talks in three northern provinces of Vietnam to raise public awareness about wildlife trade and to recruit new wildlife protection volunteers.
In shopping malls across the country, augmented reality screens featuring – among other characters – ‘Laura’ the elephant were placed in central locations. This was accompanied by a ‘pledge board’ asking signees to reject ivory consumption, as well as games, elephant photo galleries and mascots.
During November, wildlife champion Sun Na gave a speech at four universities in China on protecting wildlife and the environment. Organized by USAID partner, Beijing Normal University, the speech covered worsening ocean health, pollution and environmental protection.
Thousands attended the Birds in the City weekend fair on November 21-22, aimed at reconnecting Bangkok’s urban population with nature.
On November 12, a group of 14 smuggled orangutans were transported from Bangkok back to their native Indonesia. Freeland has been instrumental in organizing the DNA testing of smuggled orangutans in Thailand so subspecies can be reliably determined and correctly returned.