UNEP-UNODC statement on discovery of tiger cub bodies in Thailand

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From: Tanawan Sarabuddhi [mailto:tanawan.sarabuddhi@unep.org] On Behalf Of UNEP Asia Pacific Regional News
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2016 11:25 AM
Subject: UNEP-UNODC statement on discovery of tiger cub bodies in Thailand

UNEP-UNODC statement on discovery of tiger cub bodies in Thailand

The reported discovery of 70 dead tiger cubs, as well as tiger skins, talismans and other wildlife parts in a Buddhist temple in Thailand is a shock to many around the world. While circumstances of their death remain unclear, sadly, those tiger cubs represent only a tiny proportion of the enormous extent of an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction. Indeed, only around 4,000 tigers are left in the wild. Until the illegal trade in wildlife is stopped, we are only likely to see more of these types of situations.

The extent of this illegal trade and the urgency needed to end it is why the United Nations recently launched the Wild for Life campaign, an appeal for everyone to act to stop wildlife trafficking, be they governments, civil society, businesses or individuals. World Environment Day on June 5 is also themed this year on the illegal trade in wildlife in a bid to raise awareness of this severe problem. Tigers are one of the key species in the campaign.

The illegal trade in wildlife, estimated to profit criminals to the tune of billions of dollars annually worldwide, comprises everything from the lucrative trade in tiger parts in East Asia to ivory from poached African elephants. It undermines our environment, economies, communities and security.

Action against the illegal wildlife trade has become a high global priority with the United Nations General Assembly adopting a resolution last year urging all countries to make this a serious criminal offence. The second United Nations Environment Assembly held in Nairobi, Kenya last month reaffirmed the urgency of stepped up efforts to combat wildlife crime through concrete actions at national and international level.

Southeast Asian nations are also taking notice with the last ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime adding wildlife trafficking to the list of priority transnational crimes.

The commendable action by Thailand’s authorities, coordinated by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, highlights the need for constant vigilance by wildlife law enforcement authorities to the threat posed by traffickers.

In April 2015, Thai customs confiscated more than three tonnes of African elephant ivory, the second largest seizure in the country’s history. Last year, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office was among Asia-Pacific organizations honoured by the United Nations Environment Programme for its role in combating wildlife crime.

Given the extent of the illegal wildlife market in Asia it is important for all countries to unite and eradicate these illegal practices.

Isabelle Louis, Acting Regional Director, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative, UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

For more information or interviews, contact:
Satwant Kaur, UNEP, satwant.kaur, +66 81 700 1376 or Giovanni Broussard, UNODC, giovanni.broussard, +66845311358

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