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Latest news from TRAFFIC

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Wednesday
Jul232008

Almost a fifth of timber imported into EU illegal—WWF

Logs awaiting export from Gabon, a country currently in Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) negotiations with the EU Click photo to enlarge © Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon  

Brussels, Belgium, 23 July 2008—Almost one-fifth of timber imported into the European Union (EU) in 2006 came from illegal or suspected illegal sources, according to a new report, Illegal wood for the European market, by TRAFFIC’s programme partner, WWF.

Estimated illegal timber imports amounted to between 26.5 and 31 million m³ (16–19 per cent of all timber imports), with the biggest suppliers Russia (estimated 10.4 million m³), Indonesia (4.2 million m³) and China (3.7 million m³).

The major importers of illegal timber were Finland, UK, Germany and Italy.

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Tuesday
Jul152008

China approved for controlled ivory imports from Africa

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China has gained approval as a buyer of government-registered ivory stockpiles from four southern African countries Click photo to enlarge © TRAFFIC
Geneva, Switzerland, 15 July 2008—China has been approved as a buyer of the one-off sale of African Elephant ivory under strict conditions. The decision was taken at a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Members of the CITES Standing Committee voted by a clear majority in favour of acceptance of China as an approved buyer. The decision comes into effect once it enters the meeting’s formal written record.

The request to trade African Elephant ivory was originally approved at the CITES Conference of the Parties in 2002 and then modified to include new conditions at the meeting in 2007. The CITES meeting this week was charged with deciding whether China could be approved as a trading partner. To gain approval, China had to convince CITES it had put in place adequate measures to manage regulated sales and tackle any illegal domestic ivory trade.

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Friday
Jul112008

Southern African states move to eradicate “pirate” fishing

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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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Wednesday
Jul092008

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

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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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Thursday
Jul032008

Poaching gangs blamed for Tiger losses in Shuklaphanta, Nepal

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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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Tuesday
Jul012008

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

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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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Monday
Jun302008

Final call for pangolins

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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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Friday
Jun132008

Belgians urged to leave a future for souvenirs

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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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