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Latest news from TRAFFIC


Marine turtle campaign launched in Viet Nam

TRAFFIC is helping run a campaign in Viet Nam to raise awareness of the threat to marine turtle populations caused by illegal trade Click photo to enlarge © Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon  Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 20 November 2008—Travelers through Ha Noi this November might see something strange around West Lake: a line of cyclists dressed as turtles making their way through the traffic.

The cyclists, who will be carrying signs about marine turtle conservation, are part of a month-long strategic awareness campaign to alert the public to the conservation threat posed by illegal trade in marine turtles.

In addition to the bicycle road show, banners are being hung along major thoroughfares in Ha Noi, with messages highlighting the wild status of marine turtles and the illegality of purchasing marine turtles and their products.

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Healing Power from Nature wins international award

Cambridge, UK, 19 November 2008Healing Power from Nature, the TRAFFIC / WWF film launched earlier this year, has won the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic prize at the 35th International Festival of Sustainable Development Films.

 Healing Power from Nature: a new film explains the ISSC-MAP initiative (running time 6 minutes)

NOTE: If you are unable to see a still from the movie above, you can watch the film here.

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Focus on merbau trade

Logging truck carrying merbau logs, Vanimo, Papua New Guinea; much of the merbau from PNG is exported to China and India Click photo to enlarge © James Compton / TRAFFIC   Singapore, 17 November 2008—Merbau, a tropical hardwood whose deep red-brown colour makes it popular for interior finishing, paneling, strip and parquet flooring, furniture, veneer, decorative and novelty items, comes under the spotlight today at an international workshop organized by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia to discuss the sustainability of international trade in this valuable timber.

Participants from Australia, China, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Thailand, representing the CITES Secretariat, national CITES Management and Scientific Authorities, international organizations, trade associations and research institutes are meeting in Singapore to discuss concerns over excessive logging and unsustainable merbau trade leading to over-exploitation.

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Illegal trade in wild birds highlighted at EU wildlife trade meeting

The illegal European trade in wild birds will be discussed today: small songbirds like the Meadow Pipit are especially targetted Click photo to enlarge © Richard Thomas / TRAFFIC Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2008—The illegal hunting of European wild birds for food in the European Union was raised during COM45, a meeting of EU government agencies involved in regulating wildlife trade in the region.

Wild birds are killed by highly organized criminals in South-east and Central Europe who smuggle the carcasses to northern Italy and Malta where they are sold as a delicacy in restaurants.

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Huge haul of dead owls and live lizards in Peninsular Malaysia

Almost 900 “oven-ready” plucked owls and other wildlife were seized during raids in Malaysia Click photo to enlarge ©Chris R Shepherd / TRAFFIC   Update: More owls, lizards and bear parts seized in January 2009

In a remakably similar case, Perhilitan staff raided a workshop garage on 10 January 2009 in Jalan Bukit Ubi, Kuantan, Pahang state, Malaysia, and seized 319 freshly skinned Owl carcasses, 25 hind legs & 22 paws of Malayan Sun Bear in a refrigerator and 2,330 live clouded monitor lizards. Three men were arrested.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12 November 2008—Over 7,000 live Clouded Monitor Lizards and almost 900 dead owls plus other protected wildlife species have been seized in two raids in Peninsular Malaysia.

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State of wildlife trade in China finds consumption rising in 2007

in Chinese

Click image to enlarge Beijing, China, 12 November 2008—China’s traditional medicine trade is rapidly growing; China’s consumption of wildlife is rising; China’s illegal ivory trade is declining; China is the world’s second largest wood importer; whilst China’s trade in freshwater turtles is thriving. These are a few of the key findings of a review of wildlife trade in China in 2007, released today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

The State of Wildlife Trade in China examines the impact China’s consumption is having on biodiversity and what emerging trends there are in wildlife trade,” explained Professor Xu Hongfa, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC’s China Programme.

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Kamchatka smugglers caught with Gyr Falcons

Gyr Falcons are in high demand for use in falconry © Nikolay Gerasimov   Vladivostock, Russia, 12 November 2008—traffic police from Milkovo District, Kamchatka, last night stopped a truck carrying 38 illegally captured Gyr Falcons.

Gyr Falcons are in high demand for use in falconry, particularly in the Middle East, where birds are offered for large sums of money.

Under Russian law, the possession of a Gyr Falcon from Kamchatka carries a fine of RUB250,000, meaning if convicted, those arrested could face a total fine of RUB9.5 million (USD380,000) plus criminal proceedings.

“This is the biggest such case recorded in recent years,” said Alexey Vaisman, Senior Programme Officer with TRAFFIC Europe-Russia, adding that he expected a criminal investigation to reveal where the birds were being taken.

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Illegal Toothfish still on the plate

WWF and TRAFFIC call for tougher measures against illegal fishing

The Antarctic Toothfish is so valuable it is sometimes referred to as "White Gold"; better measures are needed to stop those catching toothfish illegally Click photo to enlarge © Stuart Hanchet, NIWA, New Zealand  Hobart, Australia, 5 November 2008--WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, are calling for enhanced monitoring measures and for trade sanctions to be imposed against countries continuing to undermine the conservation measures for toothfish.

The future of the Patagonian and Antarctic Toothfish and the highly valuable fishery based on them concentrated in the Southern Ocean, is under significant pressure from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

According to a study released today by TRAFFIC, IUU fishing is severely undermining protection of these valuable species which are overseen by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

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Illegal shark fishing compounds global management shortfall

Only 6 of the top 20 shark catching countries / territories have implemented plans to manage shark populations Click photo to enlarge © Simon Buxton / WWF-Canon   Cambridge, UK / Canberra, Australia, 3 November 2008-As the world's demand for sharks continues to grow, shark populations are plummeting. The Asian market for shark fin is the key driver of shark fishing globally and is fuelling illegal fishing and high levels of legitimate shark fishing of questionable sustainability, according to a new report jointly published by the Australian Government and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they grow slowly, are late to mature and produce relatively few young. Currently more than a fifth of shark species are listed as threatened with extinction.

Glenn Sant, TRAFFIC's Global Marine Programme Leader and an author of the report, described the impact of illegal fishing as an unacceptable additional threat to the survival of populations of sharks.

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