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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid