No 345 Wildlife Trade News 28th February 2015

The daily dose of bad news about poaching,

wildlife and environmental crimes from around

the world, including first comments about

China’s ‘ban’ on ivory imports for a year …

in the spotlight today ……………………

China’s carved ivory import ban ‘largely window-dressing’

EXTRACT: “The ‘temporary ban’ does not apply to the massive domestic legal ivory market in China which continues to perpetuate the desirability of and illegal trade in ivory, stimulates demand and provides an avenue for laundering illegal ivory. So, in effect, the announcement is largely a window-dressing exercise,” she said.

“This parallel legal trade in ivory undermines enforcement and demand-reduction efforts. It will continue to be business as usual for the more than 180 licensed ivory-processing and retail facilities in China because this notification, which remains ambiguous, only bans specific imports of ivory carvings and does not prohibit legal domestic sales of ivory within China.

"From what I can see, if China and Japan banned the domestic ivory trade today, and enforced it, poaching would start to decline immediately across Africa," says Allan Thornton, Founder of the Environmental Investigation Agency. "This is what happened after the 1989 ivory ban was introduced. Within a few months the trade just plummeted across Asia because the markets were shut down."

Green Groups Belittle China’s 1-Year Ivory Trade Import Ban
Read more:

China ivory ban: will it make any difference?

China’s year-long ban on ivory imports ‘only window dressing’

Prince William will take plight of Africa’s elephants ‘behind enemy lines’ in China

China suspends ivory carving imports, but move won’t stop poaching. extract: But experts said the move would only apply to very limited quantities of ivory and failed to address what conservationists were actually asking for — a ban on the legal Chinese domestic trade in ivory that provides the cover for a huge illicit trade.

“China’s domestic ivory trade is a much bigger and pressing problem for elephant conservation. This domestic ivory market confuses consumers, removes stigma about ivory consumption, provides cover for criminals to smuggle ivory, hinders law enforcement and stimulates poaching of elephants,” she said. China officially sanctions 36 ivory carving workshops. In practice, the regulations are widely flouted, and huge quantities of poached ivory flow into China every year…”. NA COMMENT: This is what happens when criminals have nothing to fear, least of all a submissive CITES Standing Committee and sanctions.

REMEMBER THIS? It was only three months ago and predictably never made it onto the CITES pro-China web site. Chinese officials smuggled so much ivory out of Tanzania that local prices doubled, environmental agency claims



No 345 Wildlife Trade News 28th February 2015

China and the rosewood carve-up The ancient forests of Southeast Asia are being razed to supply growing Chinese demand for prized ‘red timbers’ (NA COMMENT: MAJOR article in the Financial Times – recommended reading)

China’s Next Challenge: The Depletion of Global Natural Resources China is cleaning up its act at home, but will leaders be willing to tackle illegal environmental depredations abroad?

Got Questions for Wildlife Crime Solvers? (Yes. Why won’t the CITES officials enforce the convention?)


Brutal Russian Whale Hunt Exposed: Is This the Next ‘Cove? ‘Demand by aquariums in China and elsewhere is driving the capture of beluga whales.’

The belugas are conditioned before being sold to aquariums. They must learn to accept being fed by people, or starve. (Photo: Courtesy Gayane Petrosyan and Maxim Lanovoy)

85% of Thai ivory traders close in 3 months (NA comment: IF true, it’s a good example of what the fear of CITES sanctions can achieve. Now, what about China, Vietnam, Tanzania, Mozambique, next? Why the hell is this taking CITES so long at the expense of the world’s wildlife?)

More than 3 tonnes of ivory tusks registered in one month in Thailand

Cops nab 5 alleged poachers SOUTH AFRICA

Taming Africa’s Wild West, where 11,000 elephants were slaughtered (NA comment: thanks to China’s illegal trade and CITES bureaucratic inertia. Shameful, isn’t it?)

Pastor arrested with 7Kgs of ivory says he fell into the devil’s trap – See more at:

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Video message by Mr. Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director. (Talk, talk, talk, from he who is responsible for the mess that is CITES. If only he would walk his talk, for a change, what a difference it might make to elephants, rhinos, etc..)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for 2015 World Wildlife Day MESSAGE TO CITES: IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT WILDLIFE CRIME. (NA comment: CITES officials – are you listening or is it still a case of heads stuck firmly and intentionally in the sand?)

Mugabe is biggest poacher says ZCTF

Alleged rhino poaching mastermind denied bail (NA COMMENT: Whereas in Vietnam a rhino poaching mastermind is allowed to stay in business because of friends in high places? so much for CITES enforcement, huh?)

Hugo Ras. (Craig Nieuwenhuizen, Beeld)

Another rhino killed in Kaziranga

Young elephants donated by Laos go on display in Kyoto (NA comment: Laos and Japan – two countries with no regard for wildlife. Now these elephants are to spend the rest of their lives in a concrete and glass jungle. SHAME ON JAPAN AND LAOS.)

Environmentalists see red over ‘illegal’ resort. INDIA

80 Baby Elephants Snatched From the Wild to Be Sold Into a Life of Captivity

AU Staff Fined Sh1m In Kenya For Wearing Eight Ivory Bangles

Kenya to hold wildlife festival to raise awareness of protection

Why We Refuse to Let the Elephant Families in Amboseli Die

Gambling on Extinction: Exposing the global trade that threatens elephants and rhinos

Another rhino poached in Kaziranga, forest official suspended

Here’s Why Exotic Animals Belong in the Wild, Not as ‘Pets’ in Our Backyards

Leopard choked and paraded like a trophy. INDIA

Leopard rescued from trap near Moodabidri

The future of Madagascar’s lemurs

Australian gov’t seizes toothfish poacher Kunlun (NA comment: THANKS to Sea Shepherd)

Palm oil wrongly targeted. MALAYSIA This man and his industry have been in denial for years – and this is their problem. Instead of admitting they have made mistakes and intend from now on to do things differently, he/they carry on claiming the BBC, National Geographic and just about every major newspaper in the world have got the Malaysian palm oil industry wrong: they have not. Let’s be clear about this – the Malaysian palm oil industry is to the environment what China is to elephant conservation.

Scientists sound the alarm on African palm oil investment: (NA comment: NGO’s, CITES and INTERPOL we warned of this looming disaster 18 months ago. With the forests gone the illegal wildlife trade will explode in scale.)

New Guinea rainforest being leveled for palm oil, revealing gaps in zero deforestation pacts

The Last Orangutan Eden