CITES missed opportunities for tigers, elephants & rhinos
Press release jointly issued by the Environmental Investigation Agency, Wildlife Protection Society of India and FREELAND Foundation
BANGKOK: The global treaty charged with ensuring wildlife is not commercially exploited to extinction fell short of putting the breaks on poaching of elephants, tigers, and rhinos at its biannual meeting that closes today in Bangkok.
Poaching and trafficking of elephants, tigers and rhinos is at crisis levels, yet domestic trade is still allowed and international trade in the body parts of these critically endangered animals is still being negotiated.
“Some experts and governments are sending mixed messages to consumers, traders, and the law enforcement community,” said Steven Galster of FREELAND. “They are advocating for demand reduction efforts on one hand, while discussing legalisation of trade in endangered species on the other. It’s like putting water on one side of the fire of extinction, and gas on the other.
Freeland Trust of India Boosts Enforcement Capacity on Wildlife Law
March 19, 2013 Dandeli, India – Legal experts from Freeland Trust of India’s Wildlife Legal Help Centre (WLHC) conducted a one-day workshop on wildlife laws for 36 staff and officers of the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve in Karnataka state.
Hosted by the Karnataka Forest Department, the workshop included participants from all ranks, ranging from Forest Guard to Addnl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.
The comprehensive workshop focused on the laws surrounding the protection of wildlife, namely, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code and Evidence Act. As most of the participants were young recruits, this was their first introduction to the legal procedures used to combat wildlife crime. The workshop ended with a practical session, which focused on offering resolutions to specific cases which are currently being handled by various departments.
“The Karnataka Forest Department has recruited a lot of young and enthusiastic staff and it’s heartening to see that the senior officers are eager to conduct these legal workshops in the field to help the ground level staff tackle wildlife crime cases better. We are very happy that we could be a part of this process,” said Uttara Mendiratta, Chief Operating Officer Freeland Trust of India.
For more information, please contact:
Wildlife Legal Help Centre; Freeland Trust of India
3B, 12/1 Srivatsam, 5th Main Road, Malleswaram, Bangalore 5600 063
Tel: (91) 80 23560575
Asian Gangs Mining African Wildlife
Bangkok, Thailand (May 1, 2013) - FREELAND congratulates French Customs for seizing endangered animal body parts originating in west Africa en route to Southeast Asia this week, while pointing to the opportunity for Europe to join a new global enforcement effort to arrest and prosecute the world's biggest wildlife criminals.
The seizure of 50 kilograms of pangolin scales this week at Charles De Gaulle Airport was the 3rd this month by French Customs, representing the deaths of up to 400 pangolins, which are endangered ant-eaters, prized for their meat and skin as food and medicine in Asian black markets.
FREELAND has discovered that the lucrative illegal trade in pangolins is run by criminals based in Southeast Asia who are also involved in poaching and trafficking of elephants, primates, tigers, leopards, lions, rhinos, and other rare and endangered species. FREELAND has information on the gangs, which it has been sharing with authorities. One kilogram of dried pangolin scales can fetch 500 USD in Vietnam or China, while one full body can fetch over 2,000 USD. The shipment seized by the French was en route to Vietnam.
Working with authorities in Asia and Africa, FREELAND has discovered that Asian gangs are starting to run out of supply of pangolins, elephants, tigers, and other wild animals in Asia, so
they are fast targeting the same or similar species in Africa, including pangolins, which were once abundant across Southeast Asia and China, but are now much harder to find.
In January, the Government of China led and joined police agencies from Southeast and South Asia, Africa, and the United States to launch "Operation Cobra", which was supported financially and technically by FREELAND. The operation led to numerous arrests and prosecutions, as well as voluminous seizures of pangolins, ivory, big cats, and rhino horn. The international investigation task force that ran Cobra plans to keep meeting and working together. Cobra was a new approach to cross border enforcement. It involved an intensive face-to-face coordination team operating together in a war room in one country, while field teams in 3 continents conducted surveillance against criminals and moved in for arrests and seizures in a concerted fashion. The investigation team is called the "Special Investigation Group" on global wildlife trafficking, or the "SIG".
The SIG is government-led and relies on tip-offs, training and other support from FREELAND and its partners across Asia and Africa.
"FREELAND encourages France and the EU to join future SIG operations," said Steven Galster, Director of FREELAND. "Team work and information sharing across border and public-private sector lines will put real pressure on these these criminal gangs that are destroying our earth and put them out of business before it's too late."
Note to Editors:
FREELAND Foundation is an international organization dedicated to stopping illegal wildlife trade and human slavery. FREELAND works throughout Asia, raising public awareness and building local capacity to protect critical ecosystems, wildlife and vulnerable people. FREELAND is the lead implementing partner of the USAID-funded ARREST program. For more information, visit www.freeland.org http://www.facebook.com/
Vietnam Commits Publicly to Nature Protection
Vietnam celebrates International Biodiversity Day 2013 through a week-long series of public events
HANOI, May 17, 2013 - Vietnam’s Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA), in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program (ARREST), will host a series of events in Hanoi open to the media to raise awareness of nature protection in the run up to International Biodiversity Day on May 22, 2013.
A national television public service announcement (PSA) about biodiversity in Vietnam is now airing across the country to remind people of Vietnam’s rich biodiversity, the threats to biodiversity, as well as the impact of biodiversity loss on humans. The PSA also informs the range of activities to be conducted during the week surrounding International Biodiversity Day.
From May 13 through 21, a photo exhibit and logo contest on Vietnam’s biodiversity will be held at the main hall of Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) Office. These activities are co-sponsored by BCA, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Center for Environmental Education and Communications, and Vietnam’s Environment Administration.
On May 21, the Hanoi Youth Union, with support from the BCA and USAID’s ARREST Program, will conduct a roundtable discussion on “Youth and Wildlife Conservation at the Hall of the University of Social Science and Humanity at Hanoi National University from 8 a.m. until noon. The discussion aims to increase awareness of biodiversity conservation in youth unions. Following the workshop, the Hanoi Youth Union will ratify a message on biodiversity conservation to convey and carry out together with provincial youth unions across the nation.
On May 22, MoNRE Deputy Minister, Dr.Bui Cach Tuyen, will host a ceremony for International Biodiversity Day and award winners of the photo and logo contest at Bach Thao Park starting from 07:30 a.m. to 09:30 a.m. Afterwards, the Hanoi Youth Union will bicycle around Hanoi, bearing banners with messages promoting the need to protect biodiversity.
Also, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., panel of experts from various organizations will host a forum on new biodiversity conservation initiatives. The partners involved in the forum include BCA, FREELAND Foundation, UNDP and SNV Vietnam.
The International Biodiversity Day celebration will continue throughout the day with family activities in Hanoi’s Bach Thao Botanical Park.
Journalists are cordially invited to participate in all three events.
Note to Editors:
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent U.S. government agency that operates under the foreign policy direction of the U.S. Secretary of State. Following 50 years of improving lives through development and humanitarian assistance, USAID is the principal U.S. government development agency partnering with countries throughout the world to promote peace, prosperity, and security. For more info, visit www.usaid.gov or vietnam.usaid.gov.
Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA)
Biodiversity Conservation Agency is the organization under the Vietnam Environment Administration, and performs the function of assisting the Director General of Vietnam Environment Administration to execute state management of conservation and sustainable development of biodiversity resources.
Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) is a USAID-supported anti-wildlife trafficking program implemented by the Freeland Foundation. ARREST fights trafficking in illegal wildlife in Asia in three ways: reducing consumer demand; strengthening law enforcement; and strengthening regional cooperation and anti-trafficking networks. ARREST unites the efforts of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China and South Asia, non-governmental organizations, and private sector organizations.
FREELAND Foundation is an international organization dedicated to a world free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. FREELAND works throughout Asia, raising public awareness and building local capacity to protect critical ecosystems, wildlife and vulnerable people. For more info, visit www.freeland.org and www.ithink-now.org.
Page 1 of 12