Your daily dose of bad news about poaching, wildlife and environmental crimes …
in the spotlight today ……………………more evidence of China’s open complicity in the illegal wildlife trade. Also, a call for trade suspensions – see below. Will any CITES members have the personal integrity to apply sanctions? Or, will they continue to turn a blind eye to such illegal activities?
LAOS’ SIN CITY IS AN ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE SUPERMARKET FOR VISITING CHINESE TOURISTS
LONDON: A resort complex tucked away in Laos and marketed to Chinese gamblers and tourists is a hub for trade in illegal wildlife products and parts, a new report reveals.
In Sin City: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos’ Special Economic Zone, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) documents how the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT SEZ) in Bokeo Province has effectively become a lawless playground.
The complex comprises a casino, hotel, shops, restaurants, a shooting range and massage parlours, and visitors can openly buy endangered species products including tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, pangolins, helmeted hornbills, snakes and bears – smuggled in from Asia and Africa.
Undercover investigators from EIA and its partner Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) documented restaurants with endangered species on their menus, from ”sauté tiger meat” and bear paws to reptiles and pangolins; one business kept a live python and a bear cub in cages, both of which were available to eat on request.
And the complex has ambitious plans for the manufacture of tiger bone wine. EIA/ENV found four tigers at the GT SEZ in mid-2014 but by February 2015 the number had risen to 35; a senior keeper revealed the goal is to acquire a total of 50 females for breeding to increase the population to 500 tigers within three years and to 1,000 in the long term to produce tiger bone wine for consumption at the GT SEZ and for export to China, via Yunnan.
The GT SEZ is run by the Chinese company Kings Romans Group, which has a 99-year lease and an 80 per cent stake in the operation. The Government of Laos has a 20 per cent stake in the GT SEZ, declaring it a duty-free area and giving it political patronage at the highest level.
Despite being situated in Laos, the GT SEZ functions more as an extension of China – it runs on Beijing time, signs are in Mandarin, most workers are Chinese nationals and the Chinese yuan is the main currency. Chinese nationals are permitted to visit with just an identity card rather than a passport.
The complex is accessed via a purpose-built 30km road from the nearest Laos town of Houaxay and China City Construction Group, a Chinese state-owned company, has been commissioned to build an international airport, a proposal which has created conflict with local farmers over land rights.
While Laos’ wildlife law enforcement is notoriously weak, there is not even a pretense of enforcement in the GT SEZ.
Debbie Banks, EIA Head of Tigers Campaign, said: “The activities within the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone constitute an intolerable disregard for international law as it concerns the illegal wildlife trade and endangered species.
“The Government of China urgently needs to recognise the immense damage this place does to its international reputation and to take meaningful action to rein in a Chinese company which is, in effect, running amuck with impunity in a neighbouring country with weak governance.
“China also needs to understand and accept that its legal domestic trade in the skins of captive-bred tigers is doing nothing but driving consumer demand – whether that demand is thriving at home or, as in the case of the GT SEZ, conveniently shunted into a neighbouring country.”
The report calls for the Government of Laos to immediately establish a multi-agency task force to tackle illegal wildlife trade at the GT SEZ and across the country, and to seize all illegal wildlife products at the GT SEZ.
It further calls on the Government of China to investigate connections between Chinese businesses and traders operating at the GT SEZ and wildlife criminals operating between Laos, Myanmar and China, and to cooperate with international counterparts to disrupt criminal networks.
In addition, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) should seek CITES trade suspensions until such time as the governments of Laos and China demonstrate that adequate law enforcement, criminal justice and policy measures are being applied towards ending illegal wildlife trade associated with operations at the GT SEZ.
• Interviews are available on request; please contact Debbie Banks via debbiebanks or telephone paulnewman or +44 20 7354 7960.
For information on illegal tiger trade in Vietnam, please contact Douglas Hendrie at Education for Nature Vietnam on dhendrie or telephone +84 4 6281 5424.
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals. More info at http://eia-international.org/
2. Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) is an independent national Vietnamese NGO whose mission is to foster a greater understanding among the Vietnamese public about the need to protect nature and wildlife. ENV works closely with Government and partners to strengthen policy and legislation and directly support enforcement efforts to protect endangered species. ENV has led NGO efforts in Vietnam to document the illegal trade in tiger parts and products, including from tigers that have come from captive sources in Vietnam and neighbouring Laos. More info at http://envietnam.org/
3. Read & download Sin City: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos’ Special Economic Zone at http://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Sin-City-FINAL-med-res.pdf
No 360 Wildlife Trade News 19th March 2015
Activist group calls for sanctions against Laos due to ‘blatant illegal wildlife trade by Chinese’
A tiger held captive (ON DEATH ROW) at a facility in the Laos’ Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone by the Hong Kong-registered Kings Romans Group, according to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency. — PHOTO: COURTESY OF EIA/ENV – See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/activist-group-calls-sanctions-against-laos-due-blatant-illegal-wild#sthash.5UrXGF2s.dpuf
Tiger meat and bear paws on menu for Chinese tourists in Laos, says report The country’s Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone openly selling illegal wildlife according to report by the Environmental Investigation Agency
CITES ISN’T WORKING IS IT?
WHO CAN WE HOLD RESPONSIBLE?
These three men are very influential over which countries are punished, or not, by CITES.
No one, least of all us, is asking these men to do more than enforce the CITES Convention – which is what they are paid very well to do.
Achim Steiner UNEP John Scanlon CITES Oystein Storkersen CITES
Executive Director Secretary General Chairman: Standing Committee
“Those who have the privilege to know
have the duty to act.”
― Albert Einstein
HOW MANY MORE ANIMALS MUST BE SACRIFICED BEFORE THE CITES CONVENTION
Laos resort found luring Chinese tourists with tiger, pangolin and bear paws delicacie http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/laos-resort-found-luring-chinese-tourists-tiger-pangolin-bear-paws-delicacies-1492616
WAZA statement- Chinese television show featuring chimpanzees http://www.waza.org/en/site/pressnews-events/news/waza-statement-chinese-television-show-featuring-chimpanzees
Illegal pet tiger jumps to its death from the roof of 11-storey building after it is startled by fireworks in China
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3001039/Illegal-pet-tiger-jumps-death-roof-11-storey-building-startled-fireworks-China.html#ixzz3UoJV94hI
Palawan resort owner faces string of charges EXTRACT: A Chinese resort developer is in hot water over its spurious claim of ownership to an island here that his company developed into a high-end resort without permits. – See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/palawan-resort-owner-faces-string-charges#sthash.4bY22ZTW.dpuf
The Horrific Truth About China’s Commercial Tiger Breeding Farms http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-horrific-truth-about-chinas-commercial-tiger-breeding-farms/
China politicians resign after tiger breeding ring busted, state media reports http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-03-19/china-politicians-resign-after-tiger-breeding-ring-busted-state-media-reports/1427229
Dr. Erik Meijaard discusses the growing threat hunting poses to wild orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra. https://www.facebook.com/BorneoFutures Article: http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/…/commentary-serious…/
Shop owner fined $41,000 for illegal wildlife. SINGAPORE (NA COMMENT: While in neighbouring Malaysia pet shops are allowed to get away with such illicit trade. WHY?)
Traffic Southeast Asia Environmental police arrested a woman attempting to traffic six leopard cat carcases in Vietnam’s Nghe An province on Tuesday (photo below). Lots more wildlife crime news from Vietnam including recent seizures of 1.3kg rhino horn and 43kg ivory in Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Protected Zones Not Enough To Stop Deforestation Read more from Asian Scientist Magazine at: http://www.asianscientist.com/2015/03/in-the-lab/protected-zones-stop-deforestation/
Illegally felled logs, heavy machinery seized in raid –Malaysia
Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/03/19/illegally-felled-logs-heavy-machinery-seized-in-raid/#ixzz3UoKbBjR9
Vasil Vasilev: Moratorium on timber exports should be increased by 10-20 years. BULGARIA http://www.focus-fen.net/news/2015/03/18/366658/vasil-vasilev-moratorium-on-timber-exports-should-be-increased-by-10-20-years.html
Awg Tengah rallies support against illegal logging. SARAWAK / MALAYSIA http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/03/19/awg-tengah-rallies-support-against-illegal-logging/
Sarawak PGA seizes 480 mangrove logs in Lundu http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1359090
Mombasa magistrates court grants bail to Feisal Mohammed Ali. (NA COMMENT: What do you think of the judge’s decision?)
‘Sad’, ‘depressing’: outrage as Kenyan alleged to be ‘ivory kingpin’ gets bail in landmark case http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-03-18-sad-depressing-outrage-as-kenyan-alleged-to-be-ivory-kingpin-gets-bail-in-landmark-case
Poachers set traps all over Vietnam’s under-patrolled national park http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/poachers-set-traps-all-over-vietnams-underpatrolled-national-park-40013.html
Illegal hunters of wildlife sell meat to restaurants and the rich VIETNAM
Pangolins: the world’s most illegally traded mammal – in pictures The endangered pangolin is being eaten out of existence before many people have even heard of it. Photographer Paul Hilton followed poachers in Indonesia to raise awareness of this gentle animal’s plight
4,000 “homeless” Circus Animals in Mexico http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2015/03/4000-homeless-circus-animals-in-mexico/
Vast agribusiness concessions mask unprecedented deforestation: report. MYANMAR http://www.eco-business.com/news/vast-agribusiness-concessions-mask-unprecedented-deforestation-report/
Activists: Indonesia’s Palm Oil Industry Needs a Makeover. Observers say a highly unsustainable business model is wreaking havoc on the environment and indigenous people amakeover/
International Animal Rescue Absolutely amazing footage https://www.facebook.com/internationalanimalrescue of our human-orangutan conflict team (and your donations!) in action! Our human-orangutan conflict team comes to the aid of orangutans that have been left stranded when their forest home is destroyed and translocates these vulnerable animals to safe areas of protected forest. This video truly shows the devastating impact that deforestation is having on the survival of the orangutan. To find out more about our orangutan project and how you can help visit: http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/orangutan-sanctuary
NGO appeals to tourists to protect abused orangutan. SABAH/MALAYSIA http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/03/18/ngo-appeals-to-tourists-to-protect-abused-orangutan/
Poaching of sea turtle in Sabah. MALAYSIA EXTRACT: The poaching of sea turtle near Banggi-Balambangan channel is an open secret. (NA COMMENT: This illustrates the complete incompetence and complacency of Sabah’s government towards the state’s environment and wildlife – on which the tourism industry depends. au – See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/poaching-of-sea-turtle-in-sabah-james-alin#sthash.xcWn4kmz.dpuf
Japanese activists fight against the tide to save whales and dolphins http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2015/03/16/voices/japanese-activists-fight-tide-save-whales-dolphins/#.VQiG0OHJIsf
Military figure arrested for illegal logging in North Sumatra http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/military-figure-arrested-illegal-logging-north-sumatra
Eliminating rhino horn use popularised http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/125754/eliminating-rhino-horn-use-popularised.html
#ConservationTales: Ol Jogi loses two rhinos to poaching, new calf born http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/lifestyle/2015/03/18/conservationtales-ol-jogi-loses-two-rhinos-to-poaching-new-calf-born/
Madison County couple sentenced for poaching
Botswana MPs want wildlife hunting ban lifted http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Botswana-MPs-want-wildlife-hunting-ban-lifted-20150317
Thailand could be ready to begin burning ivory stockpile (NA comment: Why does Malaysia resist? Hmmnn) http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2015/03/thailand-could-be-ready-to-begin-burning-ivory-stockpile/
Zimbabwe: Zambian Poacher Languishes in Prison http://allafrica.com/stories/201503171497.html
Mediterranean countries co-operate against illegal bird killings http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/channel/newsitem.asp?c=11&cate=__15862
Kenya: KWS to Probe Rhino Killing in Laikipia http://allafrica.com/stories/201503171424.html
Toothfish poaching vessel detained in Phuket – Sea Shepherd http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/toothfish-poaching-vessel-detained-in-phuket-sea-shepherd-6257533
Centre’s move to stop rhino poaching in KNPhttp://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=mar1815/at054
Targeting threats alone ‘won’t save our wildlife’ http://phys.org/news/2015-03-threats-wont-wildlife.html
Three lionesses rescued from informal circus in Piura http://www.peruthisweek.com/news-three-lionesses-rescued-from-informal-circus-in-piura-105570
Uganda seizes shea butter-coated ivory – bound for SINGAPORE http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/international/327377/uganda-seizes-shea-butter-coated-ivory
Southeast Asian youth conference tackles illegal wildlife trade
More from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/454165/cbb/southeast-asian-youth-conference-tackles-illegal-wildlife-trade
Tuna Industry Failing on Sustainability http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hocevar/tuna-industry-failing-on-_b_6878666.html
Kuttu had killed 5, not 3, tigers from region http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Nagpur/Kuttu-had-killed-5-not-3-tigers-from-region/articleshow/46602261.cms
Parley wants Tshekedi to review elephant hunt ban BOTSWANA
Save Virunga’s elephants http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1249
Mondolkiri Villagers Tell of Logging, Blame Officials CAMBODIA https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/mondolkiri-villagers-tell-of-rampant-logging-blame-authorities-80088/
Game rangers attend training against illicit trafficking in reserve TANZANIA http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=78515
Laikipia Conservancy beefs up security to prevent rhino poaching http://www.coastweek.com/3811-Laikipia-Conservancy-beefs-up-security-to-stop-rhino-poaching.htm
Drones to keep an eye on poachers in Tiger Reserves http://www.indileak.com/drones-to-keep-an-eye-on-poachers-in-tiger-reserves/
Police capture suspected sea egg poacher BARBADOS http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/65005/police-capture-suspected-sea-egg-poacher
CJM allows poacher Kuttu’s arrest. INDIA http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/CJM-allows-poacher-Kuttus-arrest/articleshow/46614923.cms
ZAWA lost focus — TCZ http://www.times.co.zm/?p=53457
Environment to charge suspects for poached trees on Falcondo land. DOMINICA http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2015/3/18/54543/Environment-to-charge-suspects-for-poached-trees-on-Falcondo-land
Massive reforms to China’s forestry industry put in motion (NA comment: Saving their own forests while pillaging everyone else) http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2015/03/massive-reforms-to-chinas-forestry-industry-put-in-motion/
Nearly 150 trafficked animals flown to Amazon freedom. extract: Around 55,000 wild animal and plant specimens were seized in Colombia during the past two years, often to finance criminal gangs, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development said.
Vital Elephant Hunting Ban May Get Killed. USA https://www.thedodo.com/community/elephantsdc/the-us-is-considering-lifting-its-ban-on-trophy-hunting-from-zimbabwe–1045895824.html