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Latest news from TRAFFIC


Info TRAFFIC focuses on Central Africa

en Français

Cambridge, UK--TRAFFIC’s new programme in Central Africa features in the latest issue of info TRAFFIC. The recently opened TRAFFIC office in Cameroon is focusing on the trade in wild meat, on good timber trade governance, and on closing down illegal domestic ivory markets and ivory smuggling routes in the Central African region.

Highlights of Issue 9 are articles introducing the key priorities and objectives of TRAFFIC in Central Africa and the past/current work of this new subregional office. Attention is drawn to the strong support of WWF and IUCN in the subregion, along with other partners and/or institutional organizations such as the Central African Forest Commission – COMIFAC.

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“National Rare Animal” targeted by illegal traders

National icon, but target of illegal trade: the Javan Hawk-eagle Click photo to enlarge © Chris R Shepherd / TRAFFIC Southeast Asia   Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—One of the world’s rarest birds has become the target of illegal traders after it was declared a nationally rare species in Indonesia, finds a new report published in the latest issue of Oryx – the International Journal of Conservation.

In 1993, the Javan Hawk-eagle, an Endangered species, was declared Indonesia’s National Rare / Precious Animal by former President Soeharto. Prior to this, traders did not recognise the Javan Hawk-eagle as different from other large eagles and few were traded. However, following the declaration—a measure intended to protect the Javan Hawk-eagle as a national emblem—demand for the eagles soared.

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EU plan to save sharks needs more teeth

The new shark action plan unveiled by the European Commission today is a step forward in shark conservation, despite its flaws © TRAFFIC Brussels, 5 February 2009—The European Commission today announced a new Action Plan to protect sharks in European waters, which has been broadly welcomed by WWF, the global conservation organization, and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network of WWF and IUCN.

The plan includes provisions for more observers of trawlers, prohibitions on discarding most sharks as by-catch, a tighter prohibition on shark finning and catch limits for sharks in line with advice from fisheries management organizations.

However, the plan needs rapid implementation and strengthened actions such as mandatory recording of catch data if it is to be effective in arresting a rapid decline in shark populations in European waters, where roughly one third of the shark species are already threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Illegal salmon pays the bills in Kamchatka

Salmon is vital to Kamchatka’s economy, but stocks are threatened by unsustainable illegal off-take finds a new TRAFFIC / WWF-Russia report Click photo to enlarge © Dmitry Shpilenok / WWF-Russia   Vladivostock, Russia, 29 January 2009—Villagers in the Kamchatka peninsula are reliant on poaching salmon as almost their sole source of income, finds a new report launched today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network and WWF-Russia.

The report assesses the level of poaching in Kamchatka (so-called illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) catch) of five species of salmon (pink, chum, sockeye, Coho and Chinook), and analyses the importation of these species by countries in the region.

The release comes on the same day Russian media announced the seizure of more than 85 tonnes of fish, including Coho Salmon, from a vessel from the far eastern port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. According to inspectors from Russia’s agricultural regulators, the shipment lacked the correct documentation.

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Hanoi’s Environmental Police record largest-ever seizure

The discovery of a set of Tiger bones led to the largest ever seizure of wildlife products by Viet Nam's Envirnmental Police Click photo to enlarge © Viet Nam Environmental Police   More than two tonnes of illegal wildlife products seized in Dong Da district

Hanoi, Viet Nam, 19 January 2009—Hanoi’s Environmental Police have made their largest-ever seizure of wildlife products following the confiscation of more than two tonnes of bones from a store in Dong Da district, Hanoi, on 10 January.

Environmental Police first stopped a man transporting a set of tiger bones and ten kilograms of serow bones and horns by motorbike in Ba Dinh district. Following investigations, they raided the end destination of the products, a store belonging to Ms Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam, and discovered another set of tiger bones, six frozen pieces of tiger skin, seven bear paws, 16 bear gall bladders, six porcupine stomachs and 69 bags of bones from various wild animals.

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Seized pangolins should be destroyed—TRAFFIC

More than 5 tonnes of pangolin parts have been seized in Viet Nam, a few weeks after the government auctioned an earlier seizure. Click photo to enlarge © EW / TRAFFIC  Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 8 January 2009—just two months after a major auction of seized pangolins in Hai Phong, Viet Nam, Customs officials seized another 4,400 kg of frozen pangolins and 900 kg of pangolin scales in Cai Lan seaport, Quang Ninh, Viet Nam.

The proximity of the two events, as well as the similarity in the size and packaging, has called into question the origin of the newly seized pangolins, with some speculating the shipment may have at least partially been sourced from the pangolins auctioned in October 2008. The latest seizure took place on 19 December 2008.

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Illegal trade in Malayan Box Turtles continues—TRAFFIC

The Malaysian Box-turtle is in decline through over-exploitation, despite a ban on its export from Malaysia Click photo to enlarge © Sabine Schoppe / TRAFFIC Southeast Asia   The Malayan Box Turtle is disappearing across Malaysia despite a ban on its export, finds a new report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. The turtles are in high demand in East Asia for their meat and for use in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Malayan Box Turtle is a subspecies of the widespread Southeast Asian Box, which is considered the commonest freshwater turtle in South-East Asia, but despite this, and even its tolerance of manmade artificial habitats, the species is in peril due to over-exploitation finds the new report, Science in CITES: The biology and ecology of the Southeast Asian Box Turtle Cuora amboinensis and its uses and trade in Malaysia (PDF, 2.4 MB).

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Malaysia’s Tigers thrown a lifeline

An ambitious Malaysian Tiger Action Plan aims to increase wild Tigers in Peninsular Malaysia to 1,000 animals by 2020. Click photo to enlarge © Elizabeth Kemf / WWF-Canon Update: Dismembered Tigers seized in Thailand

Just days after the Action Plan to protect Malaysia's Tigers was announced, Thai Police discovered the partly dismembered carcasses of four Tigers on a truck in Prachuap Kiri Khan province.

The animals were believed to be from Malaysia and were being smuggled to China. Two men were arrested.

"The gruesome discovery is a potent indicator of the seriousness of the threat posed by poaching to South-east Asia's last surviving Tigers, and the urgency with which the issue needs to be addressed," said Azrina Abdullah, Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, 23 December 2008—Conservation groups today welcomed the release of the much-anticipated National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia, calling the Plan an important milestone in Tiger conservation in the region.

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1000 new species in Greater Mekong

Described in 2005, the Laotian Rock Rat Laonastes aenigmamus was first encountered by scientists on sale at an outdoor food market in Lao PDR Click photo to enlarge © David RedfieldHa Noi, Viet Nam, 17 December 2008—Over one thousand new species have been discovered in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia since 1997, says a new report by WWF.

Among the most incredible finds documented in First Contact in the Greater Mekong are the Lao Rock Rat, thought to have gone extinct 11 million years ago but discovered in a Lao food market; the hot-pink “dragon millipede” that produces cyanide in self-defence; the world’s largest huntsman spider, which has a leg span of over 30 centimeters; and a new species of purple banana from Southern China.

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