News / Asia

Operation Succeeds at Cracking Down on Illegal Wildlife Trade

Kenya Wildlife Service says poaching activities have increased to the highest ever recorded loss in a single year in 2012, as price, demand of ivory in South-East Asian countries increase, January 16, 2013.
Kenya Wildlife Service says poaching activities have increased to the highest ever recorded loss in a single year in 2012, as price, demand of ivory in South-East Asian countries increase, January 16, 2013.
Shannon Van Sant
An international crackdown on wildlife crimes involving countries in Asia, Africa and the United States is claiming a significant victory. Chinese authorities say they took the lead in a broad effort to curb wildlife poaching.
 
A cross-border crackdown on wildlife crimes has resulted in hundreds of arrests and seizures of banned wildlife specimens, marking the first international effort led by China to reduce illicit trade in endangered species.
 
Between January 6 and February 5, the United States and countries in Africa and Asia cooperated in the operation code-named COBRA that specifically tried to dismantle wildlife crime syndicates.
 
Steven Galster is director of the Bangkok-based Freeland Foundation, an anti-trafficking organization that supported operation Cobra with research and information on wildlife crime it had collected over several years. 

“China came out and actually was the government that proposed a joint operation,” he noted.
 
During the operation officials seized some 6,500 kilograms of elephant ivory, 2,600 live snakes, 22 rhino horns, and 1,500 kilograms of shatoosh, made from the down hair of an estimated 10,000 Tibetan antelopes.
 
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei spoke about the success of the operation in a briefing with reporters Monday.
 
He said the Chinese government is paying great attention to the protection of wildlife, including elephants.  Hong Lei said while some people turn a blind eye to China’s efforts, the operation yielded significant results.   
 
Demand from China has resulted in a huge increase in illegal wildlife poaching of endangered species in Africa.  In 2011 an estimated 44 tons of illegal ivory was seized world wide, representing the deaths of thousands of elephants.  Earlier this month the country of Gabon announced that poachers had killed 11,000 elephants there since 2004. Similarly, African wild rhinos used to number in the hundreds of thousands; there are less than 30,000 alive today.
 
Asian and African governments have been making efforts to link police, customs and wildlife officers from around the world to better combat smuggling and poaching networks. The latest operation involved law enforcement personnel from Africa’s Lusaka Agreement Task Force, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.
 
While Operation Cobra targeted poachers, Steven Galster says China’s government is also trying to reduce demand from Chinese buyers. 

“They’re targeting folks that are going overseas, naturally those that are going to go work in Africa,” he said. 
 
The illegal wildlife trade totals $8 billion to $10 billion annually, drawing poachers and smugglers to profit from the killing of endangered species.  With Chinese investment and trade with Africa soaring, sustaining the impact of Operation Cobra will be the next challenge for Asian and African nations.

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sing from: USA
February 19, 2013 12:21 AM
When will Japan stop hunting whales for their meat. Scientific research ? What an joke! Keep up the good work Sea Shepard etc

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid