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Latest news from TRAFFIC


Little swimmers make big splash for wildlife

Bangkok's Garden International School pupils have fun raising funds for TRAFFIC. Click to enlargeen Français

Bangkok, Thailand, 10 July 2009 – They swam, they paddled and those who could not, just blew bubbles in the Garden International School’s swim-a-thon, which raised USD1500 for wildlife.

The school, which traditionally holds a charity event each year, donates the proceeds to a cause. This year the school chose to support TRAFFIC’s work in Southeast Asia.

About 160 pupils at the school splashed or swam according to their ability, in the sponsored swim event organised by teacher Basia Filzek.

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Tiger farming too great a gamble—World Bank

The World Bank says Tiger farming is not in the interests of wild Tiger conservation and should be phased out Click photo to enlarge © Kirsten Conrad en Français

Geneva, Switzerland, 9 July 2009—Experimenting with Tiger farming is too risky and could drive wild Tigers further toward extinction, the World Bank told a key international wildlife trade meeting today.

“Extinction is irreversible, so prudence and precaution suggest that the risks of legalized farming are too great a gamble for the world to take,” World Bank Director Keshav Varma told the member countries of the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Standing Committee.

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Poaching crisis as rhino horn demand booms in Asia

An upsurge in rhino poaching, driven by demand from Asia for their horns, is threatening rhino populations worldwide Click photo to enlarge © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon  

Postscript: less than a week after this report was announced, authorities in Kenya seized 2 Black Rhino horns and 16 elephant tusks off a plane travelling from Mozambique to Lao PDR via Nairobi and Thailand.

Geneva, Switzerland, 9 July 2009—Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns, according to new research.

Poachers in Africa and Asia are killing an ever increasing number of rhinos—an estimated two to three a week in some areas—to meet a growing demand for horns believed in some countries to have medicinal value, according to a briefing to a key international wildlife trade body by WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and their affiliated wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

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Better co-operation the key to CITES implementation

Delegates from Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus met this June to develop a joint approach to implementation of CITES regulations in the region Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC   Biebrza National Park, Poland, 7 July 2009—52 participants from 4 countries in Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus) concluded that better cross-border sharing of information was key to implementation of CITES regulations in the region.

The meeting took place this June in Poland and participants included officers from a variety of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) enforcement authorities, including Management Authorities, Scientific Authorities, Customs, police, and environmental inspectorates.

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World’s Customs linked through ENVIRONET

An Australian Customs Officer inspects a haul of confiscated wildlife products Click photo to enlarge © Adam OSWELL / WWF-Canon   en Français

Cambridge, UK, 22 June 2009—the World Customs Organization (WCO) has launched ENVIRONET, a secure internet-based tool to share information quickly and securely amongst environmental law enforcement officers worldwide to enhance environmental border protection.

Customs officers need rapid access to information—for example, expert opinion of the identity of wildlife parts in trade, or information about the legality of exporting particular items, and now they will now able to draw on the expertise of colleagues world-wide.

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Elephant-size loopholes sustain Thai ivory trade

TRAFFIC documented more than 26,000 worked ivory products for sale in Thailand: ivory Buddhas were popular items Click photo to enlarge © Daniel Stiles / TRAFFIC Southeast Asia   

en Français

Bangkok, Thailand, 19 June 2009—Legal loopholes and insufficient law enforcement mean that Thailand continues to harbour the largest illegal ivory market in Asia, says a new report from the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

The report also raises concerns that legal provisions governing trade in domesticated elephants are providing cover for illegal trade in wild-caught, highly-endangered Asian elephants from both Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar.

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Customs learn how to identify horns and hooves

Russian Customs officers are being taught how to identify hunting trophies Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC Europe - Russia  en Français

Vladivostock, Russia, 4 June 2009–Customs officers from the Russian Far East and Eastern Siberia are being taught how to identify wildlife products such as trophies, stuffed animals and plants, basic ways to determine their value and origin and how best to store such items.

“It is an important part of their professional development that Customs officers receive State certificates to enable them to conduct such biological and merchandising evaluations of confiscated wildlife goods,” commented TRAFFIC-Europe’s programme officer Natalia Pervushina.

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ETIS workshop held in DRC

Dignitaries at the opening ceremony of the ETIS workshop, including government Ministers and representatives from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and TRAFFIC. Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC  en Français

Kinshassa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 3 June 2009—representatives of institutions involved in the implementation of wildlife regulations from across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) met in Kisangani in the country’s Eastern Province this May to learn about ETIS, the Elephant Trade information System.

ETIS is the world’s most sophisticated database of elephant ivory seizures, and is operated by TRAFFIC on behalf of parties to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

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Arrest of Cambodians highlights rising poaching concerns in Malaysia’s protected areas

Sign of the times: increased enforcement efforts in Malaysian rainforests is uncovering more evidence of poaching activites, such as this abandoned camp Click photo to enlarge © Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department   

en Français

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 26 May 2009—Three Cambodian poachers with a stash of Wild Boar and argus pheasant meat, agarwood and snares have been nabbed by the National Parks and Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) at their hideout in a forest reserve in Malaysia’s northern state of Perak.

The trio was part of a larger group of seven men who had been poaching protected species in the Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve in Ulu Lawin, near the town of Gerik.

Perak Perhilitan director Shabrina Mohd Shariff said the department deployed a team of 15 enforcement officers on Saturday after a tip-off.

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