News / Asia

China Joins Regional Network to Fight Animal Trafficking

Seema, a Royal Bengal tigress, reacts to the camera at the zoo in Ahmadabad, India. India's latest tiger census shows an increase in the numbers of the endangered big cat. The census counted at least 1,706 tigers in forests across the country, about 300 m
Seema, a Royal Bengal tigress, reacts to the camera at the zoo in Ahmadabad, India. India's latest tiger census shows an increase in the numbers of the endangered big cat. The census counted at least 1,706 tigers in forests across the country, about 300 m
Ron Corben

China has joined a network of Southeast Asian nations to help curb the illegal trafficking of wildlife.  Regional and international law enforcement efforts to combat animal trafficking have increased amid warnings over the bleak outlook for some endangered species and calls for the arrest of the trade's leaders.  

Anti-trafficking groups say China's decision to join the South East Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN WEN) boosts regional cooperation against the illegal animal trade.

China is a major destination for illegal wildlife used in local medicines and as food.  Analysts say the global trade is worth several billions of dollars a year.

Kraisak Choonhavan is chairman of the anti-trafficking group, Freeland Foundation. He says China joined ASEAN WEN because of its support of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES. “So finally China recognizes the CITES convention to an extent. So they will have to start suppressing trafficking of tigers, elephant parts, bear parts, will have to start changing; this culinary culture which is extremely vicious against the environment," he said.

The Freeland Foundation, which receives support from the U.S. government, has established cooperation among regional governments, local police and international police organizations such as INTERPOL.  

Freeland says increased policing has led to a 10-fold increase in law enforcement actions in Asia over the past five years.

According to recent data compiled by Freeland, more than 190 law enforcement actions occurred between April and September 2010, with the recovery of 16,000 live animals, and 14 metric tons of animal parts with a black market value of $6.0 million. Police also made over 100 arrests.

But Steve Galster, a director of the Freeland Foundation, says despite the arrests gang leaders continue to evade capture. “The biggest challenge ahead of us is getting government agencies on board with the idea of arresting people with influence. Once that happens I think you will see a quick downward spiral in the poaching, trafficking and consumption of endangered species," he said.

Vietnam has been increasingly a target for traffickers. In September 2010, police in Hanoi uncovered 10 tiger skeletons, hundreds of sacks of fake gall bladder and 600 kilograms of elephant bones. They also uncovered bear skulls, ivory tusks, leopard skulls and other animal parts.

Douglas Hendrie with the Hanoi-based Education for Nature Vietnam says economic progress in Vietnam has spurred an increase in demand for wildlife for consumption. “The trend is towards Vietnam becoming a major consumer state. We still have transit trade through to China, but I would say now a good portion of it is destined for Vietnam. And particularly for some types of species like tiger, like rhino-horn from South Africa, common wildlife consumed in restaurants," he said.

Still, Hendrie says educated younger generations in Vietnam appear to be turning their backs on wildlife consumption. And he says efforts to enforce laws to protect wildlife are also encouraging.

But while some gains are being made in Asia, the illegal trade in animals is spreading to other parts of the world.

Anti-trafficking groups point to an on-going demand from countries in the Middle East for live animals, mostly as exotic pets.  They say so far, traffickers there have been able to evade law enforcement officials in Asia.

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid