Posts Tagged With: Asia

Possible Game Changer in Poaching War

from Tiger Skins and Rhino Horns:Can a trade deal halt the trafficking?
by: Jackie Northam

The Obama administration is now trying to tackle wildlife trafficking by incorporating rules into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as the TPP. This is the massive multilateral trade agreement currently being negotiated among a dozen Asia-Pacific nations, including the United States.

TPP

Potential Trade Sanctions

Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, says if it passes, countries found to be involved in illegal wildlife trafficking could face trade sanctions.

“What we’re doing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership is first of all making sure environmental issues are central to the agreement, including things like wildlife trafficking, and then making them fully enforceable just like any other provision of the trade agreement,” he says.

The U.S. is also trying to make this part of a trade deal with the European Union.

But Leigh Henry, senior policy adviser for the World Wildlife Fund, says the Asia-Pacific trade deal is key because much of the demand for the endangered wildlife comes from Asian countries negotiating the TPP.

“Vietnam is huge. They are the primary consumer of rhino horn that’s driving this increase in rhino poaching in South Africa,” Henry says, adding that Malaysia is a huge transit route for the illegal wildlife trade.

Henry says when it comes to fighting wildlife trafficking, international law has no teeth. She hopes the TPP will change that.

The U.S. is trying to better coordinate with international law enforcement agencies and hopes to beef up customs and borders patrol, and the number of fish and wildlife inspectors, if the TPP agreement is signed.

sanctions

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The ONLY threat to adult rhinos is humans

It’s amazing how many people still don’t know about the fight for the lives of rhinos. Please share this Wildaid video far and wide-let’s get the word out!

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Candle in the Dark: Hope in China

China – the mere mention of the country sets animal lovers on edge. It’s no secret they bear a huge responsibility for the demand of horn and ivory, paving the destruction of rhinos and elephants, among other animals.

But there is reason to hope. The animal welfare movement is alive and well in China. The younger generation is aware, and becoming less tolerant of cruelty toward animals. With increasing attention from social media, animal protection issues are pushing to the public forefront.

chinese activists

Activists protest dog and cat meat industry.

The past couple of years, Chinese animal welfare advocates have

* banned the U.S. rodeo from entering Beijing
*demonstrated against the import of seal parts from Canada *
*ended barbaric live animal feeding in zoos
*prevented the construction of a foie gras factory
*rescued thousands of dogs and cats from the meat trade
*made stricter terms on harming endangered species(anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail)

In addition China is home to 50 million vegetarians and vegans, according to Peta.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

The New York Times reports that revulsion at animal abuse is growing, and citizens have been taking matters into their own hands, rescuing dogs and cats from slaughter, and  banding together to lobby government for animal protection laws.

China has some laws protecting endangered species of wild animals, but no protection for other animals within the country.

A proposed draft of China’s first comprehensive animal welfare law, the China Animal Protection Law, was issued in September 2009, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. It has yet to become law.

Some of the organizations currently working in China, and with the government trying to change current laws are Animals Asia, Peta Asia, and Chinese Animal Protection Network.

According to Animals Asia, “After more than 20 years working in China, we know how fast things can change – and we know already from working with various government departments in Beijing and Sichuan Province, that there is definitely a growing recognition and sympathy towards the issue of animal welfare generally which did not exist 10 years ago.”

Yao Ming's shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

Yao Ming’s shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

No doubt that social media and celebrity endorsements are helping the movement along. Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and pop singer Yu Kewei, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Sun Li are actively campaigning against bear bile farms, rhino horn and elephant tusk use, and other endangered species slaughter.

China has lagged behind the most progressive nations in animal protection legislation for more than 180 years. But their time is coming. Realistically it has been and will continue to be slow, as younger generations push back against the older generation, more set in their ways.

 As a  Korean animal rights activist Sung Su Kim puts it:

“Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away from suffering, and people in both Asia and the West often use cultural relativism to soothe their conscience for doing nothing”.

“Surely we want to regard various practices in our history (such as slavery and cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than treat them as ‘culture’ and demand respect accordingly.”

jacki rhino ad

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Chinese RX: Pangolin Scales

While rhinos, elephants and tigers are facing the perils of poaching and habitat destruction, there is a lesser known animal facing the same perils-the Pangolin.

tree pangolin

A tree pangolin.

Pangolins are little armoured ant-eaters. There are eight species of the solitary, burrowing mammals. It is estimated that one adult pangolin can consume more than 70 million insects annually, making them an integral role in their ecosystem: pest control.

indian pangolin

Rolling into a ball to protect themselves, Pangolin scales are tough enough to withstand hungry lions.

These unassuming creatures are poached for their scales and their blood, which the Chinese believe have healing powers. Their “meat”, particularly the fetus is also a popular delicacy. With demand from Asian countries soaring, they are the most frequently seized animal in trafficking busts. According to TRAFFIC, there were at least at least 218,100 pangolins seized between 2000 and 2012.

via CNN

via CNN

The decline in pangolin populations and the difficulty in obtaining them for poachers, has led to a ludicrous demand and price on their lives. Just as with the rhino, the phenomenal money-making potential has made this another tempting business for organized crime syndicates.

The Pangolin is nocturnal and highly secretive, making them almost impossible for scientists to study. It is unknown how long they live in the wild, or how many are even left. Sadly, they could become extinct before we even know more about them.

For more on the Pangolin see: Seven Ways to Help Save the Pangolin

**Please sign and share: Tell Disney to Help the Pangolins by featuring them in an animated movie

by: Victoria Maderna

by: Victoria Maderna

 

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Magic powder

First Light Productions

Rhino horn, ground into powder, is in strong demand in Vietnam.

Rhino horn powder mixed in drink. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com) Rhino horn powder mixed in drink. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com)

It is believed to be a cancer cure and an aphrodisiac for men. Businessmen buy it as a “tribute” to bribe their superiors and “lubricate” business affairs.

Grinding rhino horn to power. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com) Grinding rhino horn to power. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com)

Openly advertised in the streets of downtown Hanoi it can be purchased at shops selling traditional medicines at prices approaching $70,000 per kg.

Vietnam. Ad for rhino horn grinding plates. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com) Vietnam. Ad for rhino horn grinding plates. (Photo: Justinmott.Photoshelter.com)

70 % of rhino horn specimens in Vietnam are fake.

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Just When I Think I’ve Seen It All

elephant over fence

elephant over fence 2 by Indri Ultimate Wildlife Tours

An inspirational story that we recently received involves the Elephant in the photograph covering a huge distance across farmland without damaging a single fence! Our feeling when looking at these photographs is one of utter respect – an Elephant can easily break an obstructing farm fence! These majestic animals are full of integrity, intelligence and emotion. It’s about time they’re given the respect they deserve. (via Indri Ultimate Wildlife Tours)

We do not yet know the vast intelligence, grace and wonder of these animals.  30 elephants are lost each day to poaching for the sake of trinkets and carvings. To let them disappear would be a worldwide tragedy.

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To Market

What happens AFTER a rhino is poached?

rhino horn timetable

via WWF

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Rhino S.O.S.

rhino duoFight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos are working to save rhinos  by providing assistance both on the ground, and through educational campaigns.

*We have provided 3 months of sponsorship of the intelligence resources at Game Reserves United – GRU (the coalition of private game reserves on the western border of Kruger.)

*We have now committed funding for the first quarter’s 4×4 ranger training courses operated by Reserve Protection Agency (RPA).

*We have allocated funding to support the work of General Jooste’s anti-poaching work at Kruger National Park.

This month alone 68 rhinos have been killed in Kruger National Park. This is a bloody, violent war. The future of not just a species, but wildlife as we know it, is hanging in the balance.

We can’t do it without you. If you are able to help or know of anyone who may be able to, please reach out to us.

“There is always a gap between intention and action” ~Paulo Coelho

Please help us bridge that gap. Act now. See the donate button on the left and bottom of the page. If you have ANY questions, please reach us at fightforrhinos@gmail.com

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Imagine

ImagineRhinos

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Poaching: Its Killing More Than “Just Animals”

A reason to be concerned about the poaching crisis in Africa, besides the danger of extinction to elephants and rhinos, is the effect on people. At $19 billion per year, the illegal wildlife trade is a lucrative international crime.

EarthThe wildlife trade includes not only the slaughter of the elephant and rhino for their ivory and horns, but the slaughter of great apes and tigers for meat and pelts, as well as the smuggling of exotic birds and other animals for pet sales.

tusksPeople worldwide have turned to poaching as the desired moneymaker over other options, because the payoff is tremendous and the penalty is minimal; a criminal’s dream.  Rhino horns are worth more than cocaine or gold. Whereas the penalty is generally a fine and little or no jail time. Arrests often don’t even lead to convictions.

It is most often the average citizen poaching to support his family (not the organized higher-ups/kingpins) who gets caught.

Although poaching, which is part of the illegal wildlife trade, is ranked fifth in the world, it is used as a means to fund other criminal agendas, such as the top three (see above graphic).

Rebel and militia groups, criminal syndicates, and even terrorist organizations are using the lucrative black market  to finance their operations,

One example is The Lord’s Resistance Army, which has kidnapped hundreds of boys and girls across central Africa to be fighters and sex slaves, are participating in this illegal trade. Another is thought to be Janjaweed militia from Sudan, who allegedly killed 86 elephants (including pregnant females) in one week.

At one of the highest levels of the rhino horn trade chain, are the leaders of Asian run syndicates that monopolize the flow hornsof horn from South Africa to Asian markets. These individuals are the “kingpins” of the trade, often using different people to front as bogus hunters in rhino trophy hunts.

For a clearer picture of the process and the far-reaching implications of poaching and illegal wildlife trade, see the following IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) graphic:

IFAW: The Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade

In addition to funding the sex trade, drug cartels and terrorist groups,  poaching activity puts wildlife officials and their families in mortal danger as well. There have been at least 1,000 park rangers killed in 35 different countries over the last decade alone.

Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed.

Each day, 2-3 rhino are slaughtered.

At least 1 tiger a day is butchered.

Of course there’s no way to tell how many people die as a result from the poaching and trade, directly or indirectly through funding of the other lucrative crime it supports.

With far-reaching consequences to human and animal life, as well as the environment, we as individuals need to demand our governments bring an end to the organizations behind this tragedy. Once our animals go extinct, it won’t be long until it is our turn.

ele and rhino friends“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Chief Seattle

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