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Southern African states move to eradicate “pirate” fishing

Southern African states have announced tough new measures against vessels IUU fishing in their waters Click photo to enlarge © Jo Benn / WWF-Canon  
Cape Town, 11 July 2008—TRAFFIC and WWF applaud a significant move by southern African states to eradicate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) “pirate” fishing in their waters.

Fisheries Ministers from eight coastal member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Namibia last week agreed to set up a task force to stamp out IUU fishing in their waters and implement a plan which will prevent IUU fish, frequently caught by distant water fleets, from being landed at regional ports.

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G8 leaders commit to “reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife”

Seized bear paws—in an historic statement, G8 leaders have committed to reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife Click photo to enlarge ©: TRAFFIC
Cambridge, UK, 9 July 2008—Leaders of the world’s eight richest nations, “the G8”, who are meeting this week in Hokkaido, Japan, have released a statement on climate change and the environment.

In it, the leaders reiterate their commitment to increase efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss significantly, in order to achieve the globally agreed 2010 Biodiversity Target. They acknowledge this can only by achieved “by reducing threats from the illicit trade in wildlife.”

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Poaching gangs blamed for Tiger losses in Shuklaphanta, Nepal

Poaching has decimated the number of Tigers in Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal, over the last five years Click photo to enlarge © A. Cambone / WWF-Canon  
Cambridge, UK, 3 July 2008—Shuklaphanta, a Nepalese wildlife reserve that just five years ago boasted the highest density of Tigers in the world, today hosts perhaps just six animals, and the decrease is being blamed on poachers.

In 2004/05 Shuklaphanta in western Nepal held an estimated 27 tigers, at 17 animals per 100 km2, the highest Tiger density in the world. But recent surveys using camera traps in 93 locations recorded just five individual Tigers between December 2007 and March 2008 and WWF estimates there could be just seven animals left in the reserve. Government estimates put the figure at between six and 14 animals.

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Healthy living: wildlife use in traditional medicines in Cambodia and Viet Nam

A selection of animal and plant products on sale as traditional medicines in Cambodia Click photo to enlarge © Mark Bezuijen   
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 1 July 2008—TRAFFIC today published the results of field studies carried out between 2005 and 2007 examining the use of traditional medicine systems in Cambodia and Viet Nam.

The reports seek to improve the understanding of the use of natural resources in traditional medicine and enhance the management and regulation of traditional medicine networks to promote conservation and sustainability.

The scale of traditional medicine use in Cambodia and Viet Nam is significant, and both plants and animals play a critical role. In Cambodia, over 800 types of plants (approximately 35% of the country’s native species) are currently used in Traditional Khmer Medicine while in Viet Nam more than 3900 species of flora and 400 species of fauna are used in traditional remedies.

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Final call for pangolins

It is now or never for pangolins: the poaching simply has to stop. Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC  
Singapore, 30 June 2008—The perilous situation facing pangolin populations in Asia comes under the spotlight this week during a meeting jointly organized by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) and TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

Pangolins or scaly-anteaters are caught for consumption of their meat and for their scales, which are used in traditional medicines. However, excessive poaching means numbers in the wild are dwindling rapidly.

Pangolins are the most numerous mammals found in confiscated illegal wildlife cargoes throughout Southeast Asia, despite a complete ban on their trade.

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Belgians urged to leave a future for souvenirs

Every year, hundreds of illegal souvenirs made from wildlife products are confiscated from holiday makers returning home to Belgium Click photo to enlarge © Service Public Fédéral Belge  
Brussels, Belgium, 13 June 2008—As the most popular time for holidays approaches, the Belgian government has launched a campaign to encourage holiday makers to take great care over what souvenirs they buy to remind them of their travels.

The campaign, “Leave a future for your souvenir” was formally launched by Vice-Minister of Belgium, Laurette Onkelinx, and aims to ensure tourists don’t buy inappropriate or illegal souvenirs and thereby contribute to conservation problems for certain species or break local or international laws.

Information leaflets targeting tourists, developed by the Belgian government in collaboration with TRAFFIC and WWF, will be distributed at Brussels international airport, through travel agents and by WWF.

Every year, several hundred illegal souvenirs are confiscated from holiday makers returning home to Belgium—they include items made from coral and ivory. Since 2003, 307 pieces of ivory, 238 elephant hair bracelets and 15 tortoises have been confiscated at Brussels international airport.

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Viet Nam police arrest two suspects in separate smuggling incidents

The increasing demand for wildlife parts, including mammal bones, for use in traditional medicine has important implications for the conservation of plant and animal species. Click photo to enlarge © Elizabeth Kemf / WWF-Canon  
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 13 June 2008—On 7 June, police in Lao Cai, Viet Nam, arrested a man for illegally transporting five white rhinoceros horns into Viet Nam. The horns, weighing approximately 18 kg in total, were obtained during a hunting expedition in South Africa and smuggled into the country for use in traditional medicine. They are estimated to be worth USD200 000.

According to reports in the Earth Times, Customs police originally seized the horns at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, but did not arrest the suspect until the horns were confirmed as originating from White Rhinoceros.

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Bank aims to restore wild Tigers

Tiger experts welcome World Bank’s commitment to Tiger conservation

A World Bank initiative aims to restore numbers of wild Tigers; currently fewer than 4,000 remain. Click photo to enlarge © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon  
Washington, USA, 9 June 2008—The World Bank has announced a global joint venture to help reverse the decline in numbers of Tigers in the wild—the first-ever species initiative by the Bank.

The initiative aims to create a "Tiger restoration filter” to ensure that future World Bank projects do not harm wild Tigers but instead help restore their populations through increasing the political will to reverse the decline in wild Tigers and creating innovative funding mechanisms to support Tiger conservation.

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Authorities act against Tiger poachers in Sumatra

Indonesian police have arrested suspects allegedly in possession of Sumatran Tiger skins. Click photo to enlarge © Mike Griffiths / WWF-Canon  
Cambridge, UK, 4 June 2008—An Indonesian sergeant major and three other suspects have been arrested by local police as they escorted a consignment of Sumatran Tiger skins to Medan, the capital of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The Tigers were believed to have been poached in Leuser National Park, Aceh Province. In a separate event,  two people were arrested in North Sumatra on 3 June for trading stuffed Sumatran Tiger cubs, also believed to have originated in Leuser.

Earlier this year, a TRAFFIC report identified Medan as a hub for the illegal sale of Tiger parts in Sumatra after surveys found body parts representing at least 23 Tigers on sale in 28 cities and towns across the island.

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