Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wildlife Smuggling Again

Two reports on wildlife smuggling in the news today. Something is still very wrong. So many questions.
Answer the questions below: -
1) Where do you think the custodians were? What happened to the authorities along the border?
(a) Sleeping (b) Corrupted (c) Accomplice (d) All above (e) No idea
2) "We try our best to curb this, but it's not an easy job.'' If it's not an easy job, you should.....
(a) Resign (b) Talk about it (c) Employ competent person (d) No idea

The Star
Jan 7, 2009
Thai police seize four tiger carcasses

PETALING JAYA: Thai Police have seized four tiger carcasses said to have been smuggled in from Malaysia, in the resort town of Hua Hin.

Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday that the Police have arrested two Thai men in connection with the smuggling.

The dead tigers, with their heads cut off, weighed 250kg and were found on Monday in a truck passing through Hua Hin in the Prachuap Kiri Khan province.

Police said the dead tigers were believed to have come from Malaysia and were being transported to China.

Bangkok Post also reported that genetic testing would be conducted on the tiger carcasses at Kasetsart University to see if they were domesticated or wild animals.

“If they were captive tigers, officials will investigate which farms they came from,” National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department chief Upai Wayupat told the daily.

In Malaysia, Department of Wildlife and National Parks enforcement director Saharudin Anan said further investigations would be carried out, particularly to determine from DNA profiling whether the tigers were from the Malaysian or Thai population.

There have been several cases in recent years of wildlife seizures in Thailand that purportedly involved animals caught from Malaysian forests.

Last January, Thai authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle six tigers, two leopards and three clouded leopards at a village in Khub Pung, near the Laos border.

The cats, cut in half and their organs removed, were suspected to have been caught in southern Thailand or Malaysia and were bound for Vietnam and China.

In June 2006, Thai Police in Bangkok discovered illegal wildlife, including the remains of six tigers, from the cargo of an aircraft that came from the Thai-Malaysian border town of Haadyai

------------2nd News-----------

The Star
January 7, 2009
Illegal exports endanger box turtles in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: The box turtle is disappearing across Malaysia because of increased illegal hunting for its meat and use in traditional Chinese medicine, wildlife activists said Wednesday.

TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said in a new report that the Malayan Box Turtle "is in peril due to overexploitation'' despite a Malaysian government ban on its export since 2005.

Since the ban, export of turtles for the pet trade in Japan, Europe and the United States ceased, but TRAFFIC found widespread evidence of continuing illegal export, mainly to Hong Kong, China and to a lesser extent Singapore.

Exotic meats from wildlife are much sought after by the Chinese, who also use body parts of animals for traditional medicines including aphrodisiacs.

There is no commercial breeding of the animal in Malaysia or elsewhere because it is expensive and time-consuming.

"To meet demand, animals are being taken from the wild at an unsustainable rate, which has to be addressed or they will disappear from the Malaysian countryside,'' said Sabine Schoppe, the author of the report.

The report said a survey of stock at two traders in Selangor state found 385 box turtles in a 38-day period.

Multiplying by the number of known illegal suppliers of turtles gives a conservative estimate of almost 22,000 animals illegally exported per year from Malaysia, Schoppe said.

"Simple maths leads you to the obvious conclusion: stop the over-exploitation of Malayan Box Turtles, before we lose them,'' she said.

She said the vast majority of the illegally exported Malayan Box Turtles - distinguished by three yellow stripes on the head and a dark olive carpace - are adults.

This is especially dangerous because the species has a slow reproductive cycle and produces a limited number of eggs in its life span of 30 to 35 years. A typical adult is about 20 cms (8 inches) long.

The Asian Box Turtle, which includes a range of box turtles including the Malayan variety, was listed as vulnerable to extinction by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, in 2000.

TRAFFIC, a joint program of IUCN and WWF, urged Malaysia to strictly implement the export ban for one generation to allow numbers to recover.

It also called for better regional cooperation in controlling illegal wildlife trade, particularly at border crossings.

Misliah Mohamed Basir, deputy director of Malaysia's wildlife department, said it was difficult to stamp out the illegal trade.

Smugglers, if even convicted, often get away with a fine.

"We try our best to curb this, but it's not an easy job,'' she said. - AP

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