Countering wildlife trafficking meeting held in Taiwan
Taipei, Taiwan, 30th June 2016—Wildlife trafficking enforcement officials from across Taiwan met recently to share and learn from one another the use of new techniques and methods to counter wildlife crime.
The Counter Wildlife Trafficking Law Enforcement and Species Identification Capacity Building Workshop was jointly organized by TRAFFIC, the Taiwan Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau, American Institute in Taiwan, the U.S. Department of Interior’s International Technical Assistance Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Taipei Zoo.
It was the first ever U.S.-Taiwan counter wildlife trafficking technical workshop and was attended by 47 representatives from various government authorities, including Customs, Coast Guard Administration, the Quarantine Bureau, Criminal Investigation Corps, Special Police Brigade, Bureau of Investigation and the Forestry Bureau’s District Offices.
Wildlife trafficking is by its nature a transnational crime, and only a broad international effort will put an end to it. The global demand for certain wildlife products is threatening species including elephants, rhinos and tigers, while in Taiwan, there is significant trafficking in indigenous species such as freshwater turtles, pangolins, and even certain kinds of rare trees.
The Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Kin Moy, speaking at the meeting’s opening session, said: “Taiwan has made great strides in combatting the trade of protected species, and we’re pleased to see representatives of so many agencies here today to exchange best practices on law enforcement techniques aimed at stopping and countering the illegal wildlife trade.”
Experts from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Homeland Security spoke about illegal wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking interdiction efforts in the U.S., specialized investigative techniques and methods to deter wildlife crime.
“The workshop will assist Taiwan in developing law enforcement capabilities for identifying and preventing wildlife trafficking,” said Council of Agriculture Minister Tsao Chi-hung.
“Wildlife crimes are now high tech and highly organized. This shift in their nature means interagency collaboration is essential for effective enforcement,” said Joyce Wu, a Senior Programme Officer from TRAFFIC’s Taipei Office.
The workshop was the fifteenth in a series of capacity building workshops related to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) implementation organized by TRAFFIC, and addressed an important component of Taiwan’s role on combatting illegal wildlife crime.