Archive for December, 2011

The man who broke into auschwitz

December 29, 2011

Hugh paxton’s blog normally doesn’t review books until I’ve finished reading them but this book’s a stunner from page one. Written by Denis Avey with a bit of help from his friend Rob Broomby, and a foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert.

I’m in the western desert at the moment. Denis is dodging ineptly aimed Italian bombs.

The writing is perfect.

A book worth reading.

I’m going to Cambodia tomorrow. Five days of Blog silence!

Happy New Year! And thanks for visiting Hugh Paxton’s Blog! Hope to see you again next year!

Hugh Paxton

Great Ape! But Cheetah’s just died.

December 29, 2011

Hugh paxton’s blog offers meaningless words of comfort to everybody who knew Cheetah, Tarzan’s comical side-kick. The chimp loved people and when he didn’t he hurled faeces in their direction. He died of kidney failure at the grand old age of 80. I met a chimp like that at a zoo in England. The chimp seemed fond of me and my family (and other animals) but pelted the Marxist leader of Tanzania with his turds. Nice eye! Good aim! Gotcha!

The great African leader asked the zoo-keeper why he was being assailed by excrement while he was being important.

The zoo-keeper responded “He thinks you’re taking the piss.”

About as PC incorrect as it goes.

But that was then. Back to Cheetah!

80 years is a good innings for a chimpanzee. He has entertained millions of people, he’s helped make the Tarzan movies part of global culture, fought wildlife poachers and he didn’t like Ronald Reagan. My kind of ape!

Bad to the Bone: Elvis savages lawnmower

December 29, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog is impressed by the sheer villainy of Elvis, allegedly the world’s largest saltwater crocodile. He hails from Darwin where he made a name for himself by repeatedly attacking boats’ outboard motors. He was trapped and relocated to a crocodile farm where he ate his first “wife”, then his second. Elvis was relocated to the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney in 2008 and to avoid a three strikes thing was placed in solitary. Yesterday Elvis decided to eat Billy Collet who was trimming the lawn surrounding his pool. Billy kept his wits about him and fended Elvis off with a lawnmower. Elvis seized the machine in a classic death roll, losing two teeth in the process. He guarded his victim all morning but was eventually lured away from it by Billy who was now armed with kangaroo steak. While Elvis was occupied with marsupial meat, the reptile park’s operations manager, Tim Faulkner, dived fully clothed into the pool to retrieve the dislodged teeth (7 cm) and the lawnmower.

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – Aussies have guts. And I’m happy to say that in this case, Tim and Billy still have them in the right place! Good on yer, mates!

Fossil Hunting: The Golden Hand

December 29, 2011

Fossil hunting may seem an unlikely activity for your living room, but you never know quite what you might find in your coal bucket. Christmas came early in Maulds Meaburn this year when my wife was adding coals to our fire and held what looked very much like a piece of melted plastic in the tongs. Though black as anthracite from the coal dust, its strange shape and relative lightness encouraged us to wash it off in the bath tub.

Our excitement intensified as more of the surface came into view. We could clearly see flow lines and solidified drips reminiscent of the resin that oozes from wounds in the Lob Lolly pines of Northern Louisiana. Too hard to mark with your finger nail though, this fossil resin had hardened over about 300 million years in British Coal measures. We’d never heard of British amber before, nor had we heard of amber coming from such early deposits.  Baltic amber and the softer Copal of The Dominican Republic , we knew, these Eocene ambers are famous for insect and other, rarer inclusions, such as spiders, feathers and even a frog. Recently I’d read a good series on the subject of fossil inclusions in ambers in Deposits Magazine, (it’s a superb fossil magazine).

The Golden Hand of amber

Anyway, we heated a very small piece and the smoke gave off no identifying odour, resiny or plasticy. Very odd! There are gas bubble inclusions, but no signs of insect remains, there are coal fragments on the underside, presumably from the mother tree itself. Which may be some ancestor of the conifers. I have contacted The Editor of Deposits magazine and also experts at London’s Natural History Museum.

A bit of research on the net revealed that there were reports of Carboniferous amber finds from Illinois, the average size of the blebs measuring 5mm, so we got even more excited. Our chunk is clearly part of a larger flow too, so there may be something interesting in your coal bucket. If you find something light-weight that resembles melted plastic in your coal, wash it off and have a good look at it. You never know, it may be something precious from the age of coal!

We are going to put a sliver under the microscope next. More anon.

Thai Days: Dog smuggling, the Howling Trucks and Nelson

December 28, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has a new one-eyed dog on the block. His name’s Nelson and he might have been eaten by Vietnamese gourmets if he hadn’t got lucky. Sort of.

Nelson’s house trained, a mutt, friendly, good with children and was obviously somebody’s pet before he got dognapped and slung into a bag and stuffed into a “howling truck” destined for the Laos border. People call them the Howling Trucks for howlingly obvious reasons. You stick 2,000 dogs in the back of a truck, fail to provide water, food or blankets, thump them over rough tracks, stink them out with diesel smoke, bombard them with engine noise – what do you get? Howling!

And mass panic. And snarling and fighting and excretion. A Howling Truck can be heard a long way away. It smells of filth and fear.

It is also currently breaking as many laws as have been written regarding animal welfare and dog smuggling.

I don’t think eating dogs is any worse than eating chickens or beetroots. The issue is keeping things as painless as possible.

Nelson is alive and well and has fallen on his feet. There are animal charities in Bangkok who do their best to place stolen animals that are unclaimed with adopter families. Nelson somewhere along the way had one of his eyes blinded. But he’s a happy dog.

He’s a happy dog until he sees anybody wearing a police uniform. His response is fear and agrression and if he is left alone he howls.

Colum’s Column: Guatemala sea turtle survey.

December 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog is delighted to receive this post from our heroic correspondent on the state of sea turtles in Guatemala’s turbulent slice of the Caribbean. Over to the man!

Colum Muccio Wildlife Conservationist with ARCAS

Colum Muccio Wildlife Conservationist with ARCAS

Guatemala has almost no Caribbean coast. The main Caribbean port, Puerto Barrios, is protected from the ocean by the Punta Manabique peninsula which juts out 50kms in front of it from the Honduran border, one of the most remote spots in the country. The Garifuna town of Livingston is west along the shore from Barrios towards Belize.
As part of the sea turtle survey I have been carrying out, I was accompanied by my friend and fellow sea turtle conservationist, Scott Handy, an Englishman who vows never to return to England (can’t stand the cold!) and bears an eerie resemblance to Beavis.
We spent the first day taking a high-speed boat ride from Puerto Barrios to Livingston. Unlike the misnamed Pacific, the Caribbean is usually calm with fewer swell, perfect conditions for such time-honored activities as piracy and drugrunning. In Livingston, we interviewed Julio Lee, an older guy of Chinese descent and member of the local shrimp fishermen’s cooperative, and Julian Arana, of the Association of Traditional Garifuna Fishermen. The Garifuna are an ethnic group of mixed blood escaped African slaves and indigenous people who have settled the Caribbean coast from Roatan Honduras to Belize. They are cool, and we talked outside on their dirt patio under a mango tree while I could see the womenfolk in the house laboriously giving each other hair weaves.

Julio and Julian are good friends, and both are proud to be from Livingston and though they are well-travelled (there is a big population of Garifunas in New York) couldn`t consider living anywhere else. There are ethnic tensions though, and the Garifunas tend to blame the Ladinos, who tend to blame the Belizeans, who blame Guatemalans who cross the border… and if everything else fails you can always  blame the Culi (?) apparently another ethnic group of Hindu origin who many Livingstonians accuse of being the worst poachers of sea turtles, manatees, coral and queen conch.
Overfishing is an issue in the area. He claimed that a French (???) biologist went to Livingston in the 80s, and after his research, recommended to Julio that the shrimp fishing fleet not exceed 50 boats. “there are how many now?” “There aren’t any shrimp.” , and Julio claimed that the shrimp boats had not gone out to fish in five months. Some people blamed the BP oil spill.
We took a stroll up the main street of Livington and saw sea turtle shells, fan coral and queen conches (all supposedly protected) for sale in local souvenior shops. But, especially the turtle shells looked old and moth-eaten and there wasn’t any indication of an industry of jewelry making or other mass-use of these products. There were none of the hawksbill shell earrings and necklaces for sale that you see in a lot of other Caribbean countries. I asked the vendor if I could get the shell out of the country by plane and he assured me that it would be no problem.
The following day, we drove out to Quetzalito, travelling through mile after monotonous mile of banana and African palm plantations. The palm trees were loaded with clusters of fruits that are pressed and produce oil for shampoo and cooking oil. The banana bunches are covered with blue plastic bags to protect them from insects, and when harvested, are carried through the banana forest on a system of overhead rails.
After getting lost in the maze of dirt roads crisscrossing the plantations, we finally arrived on the shores of the Motagua River, where we were going to board the boat for the ride out to Punta Manabique. Excuse my French, but if Peten is the lungs of Guatemala (being the largest forest area in the region) the Motagua River is the asshole! As we neared the boat, I could smell the distinctive odor of cheap laundry soap. The shores were covered with trash and plastic bags and occasional dead animals were floating in the water. This river has its orgins in Quiche in the highlands, more than ??? kms away and passes near Guatemala City before flowing through the Motagua Valley to the Caribbean. As in many areas of Guatemala, bodies of water are seen as convenient ways of disposing of waste (out of sight, out of mind!), and, on cue, as we took off in the boat we saw a man come down to the shore and nonchalantly empty a garbage can full of trash into the river. Combine with this household waste the runoff from banana, African palm and other plantations up and down the watershed, it’s hard for anyone to legitimately point the finger.
The Motagua is a recognized problem in the area. Sea turtle conservationists in southern Belize claim that plastic waste from the river covers local beaches and prevents sea turtles from nesting, and apparently the government of Belize has filed a lawsuit against Guatemala due to the contamination. As we motored out into the ocean, there was a dead zone of several kilometers around the rivermouth with the same murky water and laundry soap smell. It was sad to see such a large and powerful river apparently devoid of any life and of no productive use to local wildlife or humans. There were no egrets or kingfishers to be seen, no fish jumping… not even the ever-present and all-invasive boat-tailed grackle!
Just thinking about how productive and beautiful the Motagua river must have been even just fifty years ago made me want to do something about, start a clean-up campaign… then performed a reality check, thinking of the hundreds of thousands of communities from Quetzalito to Quiche who like the man we just saw, views the river simply as a cheap garbage disposal service.
Once we motored out of the Motagua garbage plume, the water turned clear blue. We followed the coast east, and unlike most other coastlines in Central America, the Manabique Peninsula was refreshingly devoid of any sign of humans. Although the cattle-ranching frontier is spreading into east, it is said that there are still monkeys and perhaps jaguars in the area. Punta Manabique was declared a protected area, but as in many sites in Guatemala, that is easier said than done. Despite its protected status, hunting and fishing is still carried out without any regulation. Lawlessness is rife, and drug traffickers have bought a large farm and displaced an entire community.

During this economic crisis we are facing, an interesting term has popped up “Too big to fail” referring to the financial conglomerates with very solid-sounding names that helped create the crisis in the first place. Why can’t we adopt the same attitude to ecosystems like the Motagua River watershed? In the survey of Guatemalan sea turtle hatcheries I have been taking part in, I’ve seen similar too-big-to-fail cases. In order to travel out to Punta Manabique, which is the long peninsula across from Puerto Barrio, on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala Rio Motagua… the oceans are too big to fail, yet at the same time, too big to regulate.

Nigeria Quotes

December 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog has a lot to say about Africa. Much positive, much negative. Today’s post is in response to the Islamic militants’ Christmas bombing campaigns in Nigeria. I’ll let the people involved say it for themselves.

“Father, pray for me. I will not survive.”
A mortally wounded parishioner speaking to his priest in the ruins of St Theresa Catholic Church where 35 were killed and at least 52 others were injured.

“The attack was “absurd”…”In this moment, I want to repeat once again with force: violence is a path that leads only to pain, destruction and death. Respect, reconciliation and love are the only path to peace.”
The Pope (Pope Benedict XVI)

“There will never be peace until all our demands are met. We want all our brothers who have been incarcerated to be released; we want full implementation of the Sharia system and we want democracy and the constitution to be suspended.”

Boko Haram (aka Abul-Ququa) spokesman for the militant group responsible for the atrocity.

Thai Days: Tsunami memorial and tsunami alert system doesn’t work

December 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog lost several friends in the Dec 26, 2004 tsunami which killed close to a quarter of a million people in South East Asia. Fourteen countries were affected by the ocean surge triggered by a magnitude 9.3 quake off the coast of northern Sumatra. Thailand’s casualties numbered over 5,000.

5,395 are officially registered as victims. 2,817 other people are still “missing”.

Swedish holiday makers accounted for the largest national casualty group with over 500 lost (this hasn’t dented Swedish visitor numbers to Thailand – last year 300,000 Scandanavians visited Phuket) but citizens from 44 other countries were also killed.

Thais, too, of course.

Yesterday the bereaved and some survivors and politicians and others gathered for a memorial ceremony on Phuket island. The skeleton at the wake was meteorologist, Smith Dharmasaroja.

He pointed out that most of the early tsunami warning systems installed post-catastrophe were no longer functioning. Check for the full story. It’s hopeful and hopeless.

Our Virgin Birth and the latest Wildlife News Round-Up from WEN: Wildlife Law Enforcement Actions and Relevant News in the Southeast Asian region, September 2011

December 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog hopes your Christmas was suitably merry. Here in Bangkok we were blessed by a virgin birth. Our hedgehog matriarch, Hedgina, despite being segregated from patriarch Hedge (there are domestic violence issues), miraculously delivered another tiny bogbrush. My daughter has christened it Christmas.

In other news Thai army rangers have just ambushed yet another bunch of pangolin smugglers. The criminals did a runner but abandoned 67 pangolins. A long tailed boat from the Laos side of the border put in a brief appearance but fled after sensing that they were about to be shot. Pangolins are a protected species but are popular in China where, like so many endangered species, they are regarded by some as medicinal.

Here’s the latest WEN round-up.

Sent: 27 December 2011 11:15 AM
To: Hugh
Subject: News Round-Up: Wildlife Law Enforcement Actions and Relevant News in the Southeast Asian region, September 2011

News Round-Up:
Wildlife Law Enforcement Actions
ASEAN region
September 2011

Pangolins hidden in gunny sacks seized by North Sumatra Marine Police
On September 28, 2011, North Sumatra Marine Police seized 108 alive and 3 dead pangolins, hidden in 20 gunny sacks, inside a boat in waters off Belawan. 3 men were arrested to face charges under Article 21 paragraph (2), in conjunction with Article 40 paragraph (2), of the Law of Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystems.

Vientiane forestry officials seized illegally obtained wildlife and aquatic species
On 23 September 2011, Vientiane forestry officials seized illegally obtained wildlife and aquatic species from vendors at Dongmakkhay market in Xaythany District. The confiscated animals include 26 turtles weighing 30 kg., 6 snakes, 2 iguanas weighing 4kg, 40 squirrels, 2kg of wild buffalo meat, 2 mouse deer, 28kg of wild pork, and 4 stingrays. The vendors have been arrest and charged, to be punished in accordance with law.

Two containers with 695 elephant tucks seized in Kuala Lumpur
On 5 September 2011, the Royal Malaysian Customs seized two containers filled with 695 elephant tusks in Kuala Lumpur. The tusks, weighing close to 2,000 kg were packed in gunny sacks and hidden under the plastic material, labeled as "recycled craft plastic, originated in Tanzania and was destined for China.

132 animals seized in Malaysia
On 8 September 2011, the Johor Wildlife and National Parks Department raided the Danga Bay petting zoo and seized 132 animals (including 3 tigers, 1 elephant, sambar deer, ape, ostrich, sun bear and gibbons), for failure of management to renew the special permit to exhibit the animals after being in operation for the past 6 years.

Hundred Indian Star Tortoises seized in Melaka
On 13 September 2011, Peninsular Malaysia Wildlife Department’s Crime Unit (WCU) seized 100 Indian Star Tortoises, packed in a plastic container, inside a warehouse that deals with aquaculture products, in the state of Melaka. The detained suspect faces charges under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 and also under the International Trade in Endnagered Species Act 2008.

Seven porcupines seized in Padang Terap
On 25 September 2011, a team from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) from the Federal Territory and Kedah raided a farm at Padang Terap , which resulted in the seizure of 7 porcupines, and arrest of 2 men.

Wildlife seized at Mandalay airport
In September of 2011, Myanmar airport officers and forest department staff seized the following in Mandalay International Airport – 580 pieces Goral/serow horn, 145 pieces goat horn, 20 pieces bear paws, 45 pieces baring deer canine, 30 pieces bear teeth, 30 pieces goral teeth and 1 pair Sambur deer horns. 2 involved Myanmar nationals from Kalay town will face action under Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) Section 31/36(a) and 37 (a) for 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 Kyats if convicted. (VER –

Fishermen arrested in Sablayan
On 18 September 2011, 10 fishermen were arrested and to be prosecuted, having been caught poaching off Apo Reef Natural park in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro

Geckos seized in Philippines
On 19 September 2011, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized 29 geckos, estimated with a blackmarket value of at least 15 million PHP (USD 385,000) in a house in Davao City, rented by 2 Korean suspects who have left the country.

Pangolins seized by Trang Provincial Police; 4 suspects arrested
On 4 September 2011, Trang Provincial Police seized 25 pangolins being shipped to Petchaboon, and arrested 4 involved suspects.

Wildlife seized in Nong Khai
On 11 September 2011, CITES-Checkpoint and local authorities in Nong Khai seized 10 Smoky Flying Squirrel, 3 civets, 2 Flying Lemurs, 2 Mouse Deers, 3 monitor lizards, 1 Indian small civet, in Ratanawapee, Nongkhai.

Monitor lizards, turtles, civets and snaked hidden inside a truck seized in Prachuap Khiri Khan; driver arrested
On 13 September 2011, Thai authorities seized 2,721 monitor lizards, 717 turtles, 44 civets and 20 snakes inside a truck in the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, and arrested the driver.

310 Red-whiskered bulbul seized in Ubonratchatani, 2 men apprehended
On 14 September 2011, CITES checkpoint and local authorities in Chongmek, Ubonratchatani seized 310 red-whiskered bulbul. 2 men were apprehended in the public bus station.

Tortoises seized at airport
On 15 September 2011, Suvarnabhumi airport authorities seized 635 star tortoises.

Seizure of 97 pangolins in Prachuap Khiri Khan
On 25 September 2011, Thai authorities seized 97 pangolins in Prachuap Khiri Khan, worth about 32,000.00 USD. The driver was detained.

2 suspects convicted by Nakhon Panom Provincial Court
On 9 August 2011, the Nakohn Panom Provincial Court sentenced two suspects, applying WARPA B.E. 2535 Sections 19(1), 20(1), 23(1), 43; Customs Act B.E. 2496 Section 27; and Criminal Code Sections 93 and 91, to a full punishment of THB 8,640,000.00, and 2 years in prison, reduced to 4,320,000 THB fine and 1 year in prison because of their admission of the complaints. The suspects were arrested in 29 January 2008 for attempting to smuggle 275 pangolins, 1080 kg of tiger carcass, 3 dead leopard bodies, and 2 dead clouded leopard bodies at Namkam District, That Panom, Nakhon Panom Province.

Viet Nam
Gibbons seized from a private farm in Vietnam
In September of 2011, Binh Duong EP in cooperation with FPD confiscated 4 yellow-cheeked gibbons (Hylobates gabriellae) from a private farm and a resident’s home.

Two men were arrested trying to illegally transport langur bones
On September 7, 2011, Dak Lak authorities arrested 2 men for illegally transporting 80kg. of black-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nigripes) bones.

Vietnam authorities seize 3 bears
On 15 September 2011, Nam Dinh authorities confiscated 3 unregistered Asiatic black bears (Selenarctos thibetanus).

Hanoi EP confiscates cobras and pheasants
On September 15, 2011, Hanoi Environmental Police (EP) confiscated 2 king cobras (Ophiophangus Hannah) and 2 pheasants that were being illegal transported. Two suspects are awaiting prosecution.

Reptiles seized by Ninh Hoa district FPD
On September 19, 2011, Ninh Hoa district FPD confiscated 10 water monitors (Varanus salvatore), 50 turtles, 10 common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphrodites), 23 brush-tailed porcupines (Atherurus macrourus), and 15 Indochinese rat snakes (Ptyas korros). The suspect received an administrative fine of VND 15 million (USD 750), and the live animals were released into Ea Krong Rou forest.

3 men arrested trying to smuggling elephant tusks
On September 28, 2011, Nghe An authorities arrested 3 men from Ha Tinh province for illegally transporting 209 kg of elephant tusks from Huong Son district, Ha Tinh province to Vinh City, Nghe An province.

Civets seized by Huong Hoa district FPD
On September 30, 2011, Huong Hoa district FPD confiscated 5 common palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) being illegally transported from Lao Bao town to Dak Rong district. The suspect was fined VND 5 million (USD 250) and the animals were released into the Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve.

Relevant Wildlife Enforcement News
September 2011

The weirdest incidents of animal smuggling
If getting a six-ounce perfume bottle through airport security seems impossible, imagine trying to bypass scanners with 18 monkeys strapped to your waist. In July 2010, one smuggler did just that, flying from Lima, Peru, to Mexico City, only to get busted after acting nervous during a random check, according to news reports. –

‘Walking Pine Cone’ Anteater Being smuggled Toward Extinction
Legend has it that the “walking pine cone” pangolin anteater can cure a bevy of medical woes, and even boost sexual abilities. Of course, “legend” says a lot of things, and this particular theory is wiping out the last species of the pangolin still around. –

Biodiversity ‘lost in Southeast Asia’
South-East Asia has suffered the greatest losses of biodiversity of any tropical region in the world over the past 50 years, according to new research involving the University of Adelaide. –

Cambodian cattle herds offer hope for tiger: WWF
Large herds of wild cattle in eastern Cambodia mean the area could be one of the best places in Asia for a recovery in tiger populations, conservation group World Wildlife Fund said.

Rare tiger prey at risk from land concessions
Surveys conducted by the World Wildlife Foundation have revealed that the world’s largest population of banteng, an endangered species of cattle that once thrived in the Kingdom, remains at risk due to economic land concessions and poaching inside protected areas. –

Search for economic rationale in conservation
Early this month, ScienceDaily reported the successful hatching of 20 Siamese crocodiles in a project conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Lao government and a mining company in the Laotian province of Savannakhet called NMG LXML Sepon. The baby reptiles, after a year, are expected to go out and help to protect the wetlands and associated biodiversity of Savannakhet. –

Tough action needed to combat wildlife trade
The spotlight has once again focused on Malaysia as a transit point for the illegal elephant ivory trade, following seizures of blood stained tusks hidden among a container of anchovies bound for Penang and Johor for re-export to China. –

Malaysia under Scrutiny as Illegal Ivory Seizures Spike in August
Late August saw a surge in arrests related to the illicit trade of African ivory with the seizure of two major shipments destined for markets in Asia. Tanzanian officials on 24 August announced the discovery of more than 1,000 elephant tusks hidden in a shipment of dried fish bound for Malaysia. Five days later, Hong Kong authorities intercepted a further 794 tusks – weighing close to two tonnes – from Malaysia bound for Mainland China. –

Owls poached for exotic meat market
A black hole of information surrounds the illegal trade in owls. ARE our owls being poached for the dinner table? It would appear so, judging from huge seizures of dead birds in recent years by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan). –

Malaysia ‘not illegal wildlife trade centre’
The Malaysian authorities have denied charges that the country has turned into a popular transshipment hub for the illegal trade in endangered species or their parts following a spate of seizures of ivory recently. –{deef5ac8-ded4-4c8f-8297-64229389e88e}

MB orders halt to Belum forest clearing pending probe
The Perak Mentri Besar has ordered an immediate halt to forest clearing activities in the Belum-Temengor wildlife corridor, which has alarmed environmentalists. –

Police bust Yangon restaurant for illegally selling pangolins
THE illicit trade in pangolins for food and traditional medicine is a growing problem in Myanmar, officials acknowledged last week, as a wildlife group said the anteater has become the most trafficked mammal in Southeast Asia. –

Flight to Freedom
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi and Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Mundita Lim lead the release of 12 black-crowned night herons and rufous herons at the 2.5-hectare lagoon within the 24-hectare Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City. –

Philippines eats, sells biodiversity riches
A Philippine brown deer hobbles on three legs in a tiny mud pit of a pen at a government-run wildlife rescue centre, a grim symbol of the country’s rapidly vanishing flora and fauna. –

Smuggling of rhino parts goes online
Rhinoceroses are a protected species, and it is illegal to import their horns here. However, some traders allegedly get round the law by taking the transactions online. –

Fears grow for Asia’s endangered anteaters
Tiger poaching gets the press but wildlife groups in Asia are increasingly fearful for the future of a smaller, scalier and "less sexy" creature: the pangolin. –

Rosewood trees in crisis
Asia’s last real expanse of the highly-prized payoong (rosewood) tree in Thailand’s Northeast is under such a sustained attack from poachers that its existence is at crisis point. –

Flight of the Gibbon Gives Back to Help Preserve the Thai Jungle
Flight of the Gibbon, Asia’s largest zipline canopy adventure company, recently sponsored the planting of over 2,000 trees in the rainforest at Mae-on and Maekampong village, Mae-on district, Chiangmai, Thailand. The planting continued an annual commitment to support the Flight of the Gibbon Conservation Project, aimed at rainforest restoration and primate rehabilitation since 2008. –

Smuggled rhino horns: The Thai connection
Fetching US$2,500 (76,700 baht) for 100g in some Southeast Asian countries, it comes as no surprise to the man tasked with trying to stem the international illegal trade in rhino horns that it is now a major organised crime. –

Viet Nam
$11m in funds to help protect forests
The German Government and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) office in Germany have committed 8.2 million euro (US$11.7 million) to enhance the protection of forests near the Viet Nam-Lao border, the German Embassy announced. –

Johannesburg, South Africa
26th September 2011 – Five government officials from Viet Nam are on an official visit to South Africa this week to discuss the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn. Their visit is set against a backdrop of rapidly escalating poaching of Africa’s two internationally protected rhino species.

Note: Above reports and news items are compiled from both government agencies, national-WENs and task forces, and from media reports .

Copyright (C) 2011 ASEAN-WEN All rights reserved.

A Blog of Ghosts

December 26, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog recommends the following Ghost Story blog with an Oxford focus

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