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Ze Carrapichano
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Important update from the IUCN Congress being held in Jeju, South Korea.
Legal Trade in Rhino Horn seems to be off the table - for now!
from Michael 't Sas-Rolfes
Greetings Tim et al,

Just a quick update from Jeju.  Yesterday there were a few significant sessions.  First, there was an update on the elephant and rhino poaching crisis in Africa.  The Chinese (and Vietnamese) were conspicuous by their absence.  

I did not learn much new from this session other than the shocking figure that 68 field rangers have already lost their lives this year alone in skirmishes with poachers in Africa.  

This was followed by a small workshop on 'mobilizing knowledge for enhanced governance of trade in wildlife between Africa and China'.  There was one Chinese representative present, a number of TRAFFIC / WWF folks and a few South Africans, including Bandile Mkhize and Thea Carroll from DEA.  We did not learn much from China in this session.  They continue to treat rhino trade as a serious offence and have no idea to what extent it takes place within the country.  

The main market is still perceived to be Vietnam.  No official from Vietnam attended either session, but a WWF representative who had done work on the Vietnamese market expressed the opinion that it will take a long time - possibly several generations - for Vietnamese attitudes toward the consumption of rare wildlife products to change.  He explained that consuming products such as rhino horn is a status symbol and aspirational, driven by top politicians and successful yuppies.  

There was also a USAID rep present who said that Hilary Clinton has now taken a personal interest in cracking the poaching problem.  And WWF-International announced that they are throwing their weight behind a massive campaign to raise the political profile of the poaching crisis to mobilize more political will and resources.  

I raised the concern that perhaps this might still not be enough, referencing the failure of the War on Drugs, despite the mobilization of significant resources for that.  To this, Steve Broad, the head of TRAFFIC, responded by stating his belief that the wildlife market was different to the drugs market, that there are relatively few kingpins and that it would be easy to take them out with a more focused effort.  We shall see.

Thea Carroll from DEA pointed out that South Africa was spending massive amounts of money to try and solve the poaching problem through enforcement and so far had little to show for it.  She expressed concern that we simply can't keep this up without seeing some return on this investment in the foreseeable future.  

The bottom line is that WWF / TRAFFIC remain committed to the enforcement approach and, as far as they are concerned, legal trade was not really even up for discussion at this point.

In the evening there was another relevant meeting, this time to discuss a proposed IUCN motion aimed at phasing out the practice of bear farming in China.  This is relevant, because bear bile, like rhino horn, is considered important in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  For this meeting, many Chinese representatives were present (from the Chinese State Forestry Association and TCM representatives, among others) and they expressed very clear opposition to the motion.  

Alongside this meeting I had some discussions with some folks who are close to the Chinese and aware of their position.  Their bottom line is that they strongly defend their use of TCM and have no intention of backing down on this.  They are not willing to yield much ground on bear farming: although they have apparently invested quite heavily in improving farming practices for the sake of bear welfare, they wish to continue with bile extraction and firmly believe that this helps with the conservation of wild bears.  

With regards to rhino horn, they have removed it from the official pharmacopeia but are not willing to condemn its use in traditional medicine as ineffective, because they remain of the belief that it does have healing powers.  In Vietnam, I believe that rhino horn remains 'in the books' of both the official and unofficial traditional pharmacopeia references, not as a cancer remedy, but to treat other ailments.

So, all in all, Tim, I think the chances of traditional practices relating to medicinal use changing anytime soon are not great.  I can't comment on ivory, but I also note there is a strong Asian culture of status, prestige and gifting, which is also very unlikely to change anytime soon, coupled with a belief that people are way more important than animals, so I would say we are fighting an uphill battle on the 'demand reduction' side.  

The WWF Vietnam guy also expressed the opinion that getting Chinese heroes like Jackie Chan to denounce the use of rhino horn might impress some teenage Vietnamese girls but would be very unlikely to have any influence on the politicians and entrepreneurs who are the real users of the product.

I hope these comments are useful!

Kind regards

Michael
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If you, like me , keep misplacing stuff, you may want to look at this opportunity?

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Are you all suddenly receiving thousands of notifications by e-mail of all the posts from anyone in your extended circles? My settings do not allow that. It just happened today. Google+ bug???
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+Alex Lapidus There is a formal route to report bugs and I followed it on Google+. 
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Care2 subscriber since Sep 30, 2012 Unsubscribe  |  Forward to a Friend  |  Reread the Petition 

 
Ask the Animal-Lovers You Know to Keep Wild Animals in the UK Out of Circuses
 
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Reread the petition >> 
     

Dear Ze,

Thank you so much so demanding the UK government close the loophole that allows animals from British parks to be sold into inhumane conditions abroad. If this country wants to really improve animal welfare, it needs to help all its animals -- not just those that stay within its borders. 

Will you help us show Prime Minister Cameron that we mean business by asking your friends and family to join the fight too? 

The UK already promised to ban the use of wild animals in circuses due to animal welfare concerns. That's all well and good, but so long as this giant loophole exists we aren't really doing all we can to protect lions, tigers and other creatures who suffer in this kind of captivity. 

We're hoping to get a lot more people to sign to ensure Cameron takes notice. Help us out by sending an email to your friends and family, sharing the petition on Facebook, and sending this tweet and asking the animal-lovers you know to sign too. 

We try to make sharing quick and easy: here's a short message you can just copy and send: 
Hi - 

Recently, four white lion cubs were found suffering in a Japanese animal circus. Turns out they were from a British safari park and made their way through a middleman to the inhumane conditions at the circus. 

I was surprised to hear that since the UK has good animal welfare legislation that is supposed to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Turns out, those laws lose their teeth once the animals are sold outside the UK. That's a pretty gaping loophole that the government needs to close right away. That's why I signed this petition asking Prime Minister Cameron to take action. I know you care about animal welfare too, so I'm hoping you'll join me and sign. Here's the link: 
http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AhBwB/znII/AXVE7 

Thanks! 

 
Thanks for taking action!

Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team 
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http://ppl.com.pt/en/node/117464

If you know someone who would be happy to crowdfund this group please circulate this message. Every 5 Euros will be really appreciated and will be put to good use. So do not hesitate and let your friends know.

They have the team and the determination that will one day find a solution for chronic pain.
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A Sea4Us é uma empresa de biotecnologia portuguesa, recém-criada, que utiliza compostos marinhos para desenvolver novos medicamentos, em particular para a dor crónica. A dor crónica é um grave problema de saúde que afecta 21% da população mundial e para o qual ainda não existe um tratamento adequado. A Sea4Us está, neste momento, e em parceria com laboratórios de uma Universidade do Estado Português, a desenvolver novos compostos analgésicos que ...
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May be one day chronic pain will be a thing of the past. May be you will have something to do with that achievement by crowdfunding these clever chaps !
http://ppl.com.pt/pt/prj/organismos-marinhos  
https://www.facebook.com/Sea4Us.pt  
May be you just have 5 Euros change annoyingly giggling in your pocket  or you would love to go diving/snorkeling in Portugal and fancy a seafood meal in sunny Algarve: if for whatever reason you decide to sponsor Sea4Us I suspect the future will make you feel proud from being part of this fantastic enterprise! Help them fight pain, you may benefit more than you bargained for!!!!
A Sea4Us está a desenvolver produtos com origem marinha de elevado interesse para a biomedicina, nomeadamente compostos provenientes de organismos marinhos.
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We all complain about pollution. We all dream about clear skies, beautiful rivers, lush forests and wildlife. If we are going to do something for the generations to come we have to start... yesterday. Join those who celebrate Earth Hour http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/about-wwfs-earth-hour . One hour, you say, makes no difference. True but it is the message that counts. Do something for this Earth and you will feel good about it. If you are not convinced, try: a special dinner perhaps??? no light pollution, countless stars...
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+Ze Carrapichano Get on the plane and come visit...you keep on saying soon soon but it's been too loooooong....miss you ;)
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Russie, Ukraine et Chine ont empêché la création de réserves naturelles !
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Maria Jose Carrapichano Ferreira de Carvalho Caldeira-Saraiva
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