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Latest news from TRAFFIC

All pangolins uplisted as threatened species by IUCN more...


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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First ivory auction from southern Africa takes place

Namibia is the first of four African countries to auction its stockpiled ivory in the CITES-regulated "one-off" ivory sale Click photo to enlarge ©Folke Wulf / WWF Canon Gland, Switzerland/Cambridge, UK, 28 October 2008-Four African countries are holding "one-off" ivory auctions over the next two weeks. South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have been approved by the member governments of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, to sell ivory from government-managed stockpiles to Japan and China under very strict conditions.

The CITES member governments approved this sale in 2002 with details finalised in 2007, and have agreed that Japan and China meet all of the requirements for tight enforcement controls on the ivory auctions. The first auction took place today in Namibia when three buyers from Japan and three from China bought 7.2 tonnes of ivory for a total of USD1.18 million. The remaining 1.8 tonnes of the 9 tonnes on offer will be used by local craftsmen.

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Tiger and other cat parts on open sale in Myanmar

TRAFFIC surveys found parts of Tigers and other wild cat species openly on sale in Myanmar, with some dealers claiming their Tiger parts originated in India Click photo to enlarge © Chris Shepherd / TRAFFIC Southeast Asia   Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 15 October 2008—Skin and bones, canines and claws from almost 1,200 wild cats were observed in Myanmar’s wildlife markets during 12 surveys undertaken by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. They included parts of at least 107 Tigers and all eight cat species native to Myanmar.

Irregular surveys over the last 15 years have recorded a total of 1,320 wild cat parts, representing a minimum of 1,158 individual animals.

“Although almost 1,200 cats were recorded, this can only be the tip of the iceberg,” said Chris Shepherd, Programme Co-ordinator for TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia office.

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New foundation to promote sustainable collection of wild plants

Left to right: Julia Marton-Lefèvre (Director General, IUCN), Professor Beate Jessel, BfN President, Guillermo Castilleja, Executive Director of Conservation, WWF and Steven Broad, Executive Director, TRAFFIC, announcing a new ISSC-MAP agreement Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC  Barcelona, Spain, 9 October 2008—An important agreement was signed today between the four founding institutions of the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) to endorse global implementation of the standard through the FairWild Foundation.

ISSC-MAP is a standard that promotes appropriate management of wild plant populations used in medicines and cosmetics to ensure they are not over-exploited. Under the new agreement, the FairWild Foundation will help develop an industry labelling system so products harvested using the sustainable ISSC-MAP criteria can be readily recognised and certified. Use of the standard will be promoted throughout the herbal products industry.

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