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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs