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Indonesia: Only 17 Sumatran tigers left in Bengkulu

TEMPO.CO, Bengkulu - The Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA) Bengkulu-Lampung chapter noted that there are only 17 Sumatran tigers (Phantera tigris sumatrae) left in the forest of Bengkulu Province.

“After conducting observations in human-tiger conflict areas, and based on reports filed by by residents and field officials’ patrols, the tiger population in Bengkulu is estimated at 17,” the BKSDA Bengkulu-Lampung official Said Jauhari said on Monday in Bengkulu.

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* Find out more about EIA's Tigers Campaign at http://ht.ly/qY6t308g4Qq
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Said revealed that human-tiger conflicts mostly occur in Seluma District, followed by North Bengkulu District.

Forest fragmentation due to illegal logging, land conversion and wildlife hunting are the main challenges in preserving the Sumatran tigers.

Read in full at https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2017/01/23/206838880/Only-17-Sumatran-Tigers-Left-in-Bengkulu

#Indonesia #Sumatra #tigers #deforestation #hunting

Image: Sumatran tiger, by Wakeffra
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New Year sees devastating number of pangolin seizures

The beginning of any New Year should be filled with hope and expectation but 2017 is barely weeks old and already several multi-tonne seizures of pangolin scales in Africa and the end markets in Asia has injected a dash of forlorn reality.

This week, Cameroon’s Ministry of Wildlife, aided by LAGA, arrested two Chinese nationals in Doula with five tonnes of scales. On January 6, six tonnes destined for the Asian markets were seized in Tanzania by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and LATF. Likewise, just before Christmas, Shanghai Customs seized over three tonnes of pangolin scales and Cameroonian customs seized over half a tonne of scales being exported from Yaoundé destined for Malaysia.

Altogether, more than 14 tonnes of pangolin scales have been seized in just four seizures, in the space of a month, accounting for over 20,000 pangolins,s emphatically highlighting an illegal trade completely out of control. Such rampant illegal trade jeopardises the very existence of all pangolin species and brings in to sharp focus the involvement of organised transnational criminal networks

Combating the illegal trade in pangolins will take more than just seizures. Without prosecutions, deterrent sentencing and confiscation of the proceeds and assets of the major players in these networks, poachers will be commissioned to capture more pangolins to fill the demand – a demand that is primarily driven by China and Vietnam.

Read today's EIA blog in full at https://eia-international.org/new-year-sees-devastating-number-of-pangolin-seizures

#Africa #China #Vietnam #pangolins #illegalwildlifetrade

Image: African white-bellied pangolin, Democratic Republic of the Congo (c) African Pangolin Working Group
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South Africa: Govt to take action as trad 'medicine' market complaints spike

The Department of Environmental Affairs has embarked on a biodiversity compliance awareness drive with muti [traditional 'medicine'] traders and traditional healers.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), in collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) have hosted the one-day workshop, bringing together government authorities, muti-traders and traditional healers operating at the Faraday and Mai Mai markets to promote compliance with the National Environmental Legislation.

The department says it particularly needs to create awareness on the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act for“muti-traders” and “muti-collectors” operating at the “muthi-markets” in Johannesburg.

The regional conservation departments have confirmed an increase in complaints from members of the public about a diverse number of threatened species listed in terms of the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations that are being illegally sold at “muti-markets” around the country.

In October 2016, Traveller24 broke the video footage taken at the well-known Faraday Muthi of leopards skins being sold, amongst other animal products. The traders were allegedly unable to provide permits or details of where or how the products were obtained. At the time there was a year-long hunting ban on leopard in SA - which has subsequently just been renewed.

Read in full at http://traveller24.news24.com/Explore/Green/dea-set-to-take-action-as-sa-muthi-market-complaints-spike-20170119

#SouthAfrica #Africa #Johannesburg #illegalwildlifetrade #muti #leopards

Image: Wildlife products on sale at a Johannesburg market in South Africa, via Traveller 24
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Mexico: Goldman Environment Prize winner killed in latest attack on Latin American activists

A Mexican Indigenous activist who won the Goldman Environmental Prize has been shot dead, the second recipient of the prestigious award to be murdered in less than 12 months.

The Guardian reports that Isidro Baldenegro López, a subsistence farmer known for his work to stop illegal logging and deforestation, was shot at a relative's home on Sunday. Baldenegro, who received the Goldman prize in 2005, had only recently returned to his community, Coloradas de la Virgen in Chihuahua, in the country's northern Sierra Madre mountain region, after spending time in exile over threats against him and his family.

A spokesperson from the prosecutor's office told the Guardian that one of the killers had been identified and not yet detained.

His murder is the latest in a disturbing trend of attacks on Latin American activists. The 2016 assassination of Honduran Indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, who co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras and was known for her work protecting natural resources and public lands, sent shockwaves through the social justice and environmentalist communities. Cáceres received the Goldman prize in 2015.

The Center for International and Environmental Law (CIEL) reported in August that Latin America is the "most dangerous region in the world" for land and water defenders, a finding that echoed a similar study published in June by the human rights group Global Witness.

Read in full at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/18/mexican-goldman-environmentalist-prize-winner-killed-latest-attack-latin-american

#Mexico #forests #illegallogging #murder #indigenous +Goldman Environmental Prize 

Image: Isidro Baldenegro López accepts his award for environmental activism (c) Goldman Prize
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India: The rescue of 6,430 rare turtles shows wildlife crime continues unchecked

On January 11, the Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh Police seized 6,430 endangered soft shell and flap shell turtles from a house in Amethi district. This is believed to be the largest turtle haul in the country so far. But, it was not an isolated case. In the first 15 days of the year, 14,000 turtles were rescued in operations in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, according to senior officials of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.

A day before the Amethi haul, the state police arrested a man in Mirzapur city in Uttar Pradesh and recovered six rare wild cats – five caracals, of which there are only 200 in India’s forests, and a leopard cat, a rare species.

These recoveries, along with the rescue of other rare species such as hedgehogs and flying squirrels in North and Central India over the past few months, have highlighted the fact that wildlife smuggling is still rampant in India. While the wild cats found in Mirzapur were bound for Hyderabad, most of the smuggled animals find their way to Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The turtles, too, were headed to that region, either through Nepal, which shares a porous border with India, or through Kolkata, which is a major transit point for turtle smuggling.

Read in full at https://scroll.in/article/826914/the-rescue-of-6430-rare-turtles-in-up-shows-wildlife-crime-in-india-continues-unchecked

#India #illegalwildlifetrade #turtles #reptiles #cats #Myanmar #Thailand #Vietnam #Nepal

Image: The recovery of 6,430 turtles from a house in Amethi last week is India's largest live turtle haul, via scroll.in
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Conviction in China for smuggling ivory bought in London market

In January 2017, a man named Chen X Kun (36), from Wencheng in Zhejiang, was convicted of smuggling endangered species and sentenced to two years in prison, a three-year suspended sentence and a fine of RMB 50,000.

Chen had left China more than 20 years ago and gained Dutch citizenship. In late March 2016, he was travelling in London and bought 11 ivory pieces and one leopard skin bag from a market.

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* UK’s ivory trade ‘ban’ just so much smoke and mirrors - http://ht.ly/S9I03087Cjf
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He concealed the items in coffee and chocolate, and posted them to Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province. On March 27, 2016 Chen arrived in China at Shanghai Pudong Airport.

The parcel was seized on April 3 and the ivory seized, weighing 2.81kg, along with the leopard skin bag. Chen turned himself in on April 25.

Source: http://zsxq.zjol.com.cn/system/2017/01/16/021423299.shtml

#China #UK #elephants #ivory #illegalwildlifetrade

Image via http://zsxq.zjol.com.cn
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South Africa: Calls for an investigation into links between top minister Mahlobo and rhino horn trafficker

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is dismayed to learn that the Hawks have failed to launch an investigation into the relationship between State Security Minister David Mahlobo and what they call self-confessed criminal Guan Jiang Guang.

Mahlobo’s alleged association with Guan was exposed in a documentary on rhino poaching by Al Jazeera in November last year.

In the documentary, the Chinese national admits he’s a rhino horn trafficker.

He boasts about having Minister Mahlobo as an associate and displays a photograph of himself with the minister.

DA’s chief whip John Steenhuisen says the link between the two is obvious and the Hawks’s failure to investigate the matter, expose it to be selective on investigations and prosecutions.

* Full story at http://ewn.co.za/2017/01/22/da-calls-for-an-investigation-into-links-between-mahlobo-rhino-horn-trafficker

* Watch the Al Jazeera investigtion at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/exclusive-african-minister-linked-rhino-poaching-161113071410270.html

#SouthAfrica #Africa #rhino

Image: Left, David Mahlobo, via News24.com; right, Guan Jiang Guang, who claims to be a friend of State Security Minister David Mahlobo, shows an undercover investigator from Al Jazeera a picture of himself with a man who appears to be the minister (c) Al Jazeera
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The skin cure fad threatening Myanmar's elephants

Under the shadow of Myanmar's famed "Golden Rock" punters haggle for the latest traditional medicine cure - slices of skin from the country's fast disappearing wild elephants sold for a few dollars a square inch.

A set of stairs winds behind one of the Buddhist country's most holy sites to a maze of shops openly selling everything from pieces of ivory and tiger's teeth to vials of bear oil.

... Elephant poaching in Myanmar has jumped tenfold in recent years, the government said this week, driven by growing demand for ivory, hide and body parts.

Increasingly carcasses are being found stripped of their skin, the hide used for traditional medicine or reportedly turned into beads for jewellery.

Some of it is sold in local markets, but the vast majority goes to feed neighbouring China's inexhaustible taste for exotic animals.

Myanmar's wild elephant population is thought to have almost halved over the past decade to around 2,000-3,000.

Read in full at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/21/skin-cure-fad-threatening-myanmars-elephants

#Myanmar #China #elephants #ivory #tigers #bears

Image: Dried elephant skin being displayed in a traditional medicine shop near the Golden Rock pagoda in Mount Kyaikhteeyoe, Myanmar (c) AFP
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Cambodia: Govt's illegal logging claims invite scepticism

Environment Minister Say Samal yesterday maintained that illegal logging operations in Cambodia were now limited to individuals felling a few trees at a time and that recent timber seizures were of logs felled long ago, claims met with scepticism by conservation observers.

... He also dismissed claims that provincial officials were in cahoots with illegal loggers and said that if there were any such cases, action would be taken.

... “Illegal logging activities have not slowed down, but instead have increased,” said Goldman-prize winning forest advocate Ouch Leng.

“Illegal loggers are even more blatant than they used to be before.”

He said logging by local residents was only a small part of the problem, adding that the focus instead needed to be on high-ranking officials and businessmen.

Read in full at http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/logging-claims-invite-scepticism

#Cambodia #forests #illegallogging #corruption

Image: Illegal loggers cut down a rosewood tree in Cambodia, via Phnom Penh Post
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UK: Macabre animal body parts trader jailed for six months

A TAXIDERMIST from Newton Abbot has been convicted of buying and selling hundreds of rare animal body parts – fuelling a macabre illegal international trade in endangered species.

Daniel Stocks, 42, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty at Exeter Crown Court. He had a legal business selling 'shrunken heads' online. But Exeter Crown Court heard that he also had an illegal sideline in the import, export, and sale of protected species – particularly monkeys and hornbills.

Emails suggested Stocks attended conventions and would email buyers and suppliers all over the world and discuss the trade in shark, mummified monkeys, civet skeletons, kittens, bat penises and even human skulls.

When police searched the Bradley Lane business in Newton Abbot they found preserved hands, fingers, heads of macaques and langurs, various bones, jaws, skulls of a variety of animals,' prosecutor Sean Brunton said, 'including a bear and a tiger'.

Read in full at http://www.torquayheraldexpress.co.uk/macabre-animal-body-parts-man-pleads-guilty/story-30065184-detail/story.html

#tiger #bear #hornbills #monkeys #illegalwildlifetrade

Image: Daniel Stocks and some of the illegal dead animal parts, via torquayheraldexpress.co.uk
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Myanmar's 'smiling' Irrawaddy dolphins on brink of extinction

Tears fill Maung Lay's eyes as he describes losing the dolphin he knew since his childhood, the latest casualty of a battle against pollution and electrofishing that may see the species disappear in Myanmar.

Loved for generations for corralling the catch into fishermen's nets, the "smiling" Irrawaddy dolphins are being killed in record numbers by rogue gangs who use car batteries to stun aquatic life.

The illegal technique now threatens to wipe out the dolphins and the tourist bonanza they promise.

Irrawaddy dolphins can be found in rivers, lakes and seas across southern Asia, from the northwest Bay of Bengal, in India, to the south of Indonesia.

Read in full at http://www.dailysabah.com/environment/2017/01/19/myanmars-smiling-irrawaddy-dolphins-on-brink-of-extinction

#Myanmar #Irrawaddy #dolphins #extinction #fishing #pollution

Image: Irrawaddy dolphin, by Stefan Brending
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Elephants: Yahoo! Japan defies calls to rethink ivory sales as Yahoo Inc CEO weighs in

Yahoo! Japan, the country's biggest online auction site, is rebuffing calls to end online ivory trading despite Yahoo! Inc CEO Marissa Mayer's misgivings over facilitating a business blamed for the illegal slaughter of African elephants.

Yahoo! Japan doesn't accept that ivory sold on its platform - supposedly imported into Japan before a 1989 ban on international shipments - is a factor behind the sharp rise in poaching on the African savannah in recent years.

Dismissing animal rights campaigners' concerns, even though the ivory business contributes a fraction of its sales, Yahoo! Japan also argues that so long as no laws are broken people should be able to trade whatever they like on the internet.

Read in full at http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-yahoojapan-ivory-idUKKBN15206E

#elephants #ivory #Japan #Africa #illegalwildlifetrade +Yahoo +Yahoo! JAPAN 

Image: Poached elephant in Kenya (c) EIA
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Working to protect the natural world from environmental crime & abuse
Introduction
EIA’s vision is a future where humanity respects, protects and celebrates the natural world for the benefit of all.

www.eia-international.org

Mission

EIA’s mission is to protect the natural world by:

• Exposing environmental destruction and loss of biodiversity through uncompromising and innovative investigations
• Using this intelligence, evidence and research to uncover environmental crime and those responsible
• Campaigning for protection of the environment through better enforcement of environmental law, progressive policy-making and changes in consumer behaviour
• Developing effective partnerships and sharing skills and expertise

Overview

EIA is an independent campaigning organisation committed to bringing about change that protects the natural world from environmental crime and abuse.
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