Archive for the ‘G’day Vietnam!’ Category

Thai Days: Rhino horn seizure in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh

January 10, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has nothing more to say on the morality and consequences of the ongoing rhino slaughter in Africa. I’ve said it already. Again and again.

But for the record, more than 27 kilos of rhino horn have just been discovered by customs officials in Thailand and Vietnam. Both busts on the same day, last Sunday.

The culprits, tellingly, were both Vietnamese. Rhino horn is big in Vietnam. Not for aphrodisiac purposes. It’s a prestige thing. Newly rich Vietnamese even shave it thinly as an ostentatiously consumed cure for a hangover. Vietnam used to have rhinos. It doesn’t have any now.

The Thai arrest took place in the international airport, Suvarnabhumi. A 53-year-old man had cunningly hidden 10.6 kg of horn in his luggage which he deposited in a left luggage locker.  I guess his arm was getting tired lugging the stuff around. He intended to pick it up before flying on to Hanoi. The Thai wildlife people spotted his flight path and his final destination and, give them their due, put two and two together and grabbed the scoundrel. Good work, lads!

The Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) a 33-year-old smuggler was caught with 16.5 kg of horn.

No link between the two men has been established at time of writing.

Both couriers used convoluted routes to reach their prison cells – ports of call included Doha (as usual) and Ethiopia – but Vietnam was the intended destination. In Vietnam 100 grammes of rhino horn can summon prices of up to $US 5,000.

 

I’ve no idea what the Vietnamese judiciary is planning to do with their smuggler. The guy held here is looking at a four year prison stretch in Bang Khwang and a rather paltry fine of 40,000 baht. The Bangkok Hilton (Bang Khwang prison) will probably kill him. It’s hard time.

The source of the rhino horn is Mozambique – both men began their flights from there. But I think we all know where it really came from. The Kruger National Park – a trans-frontier African friendship/peace initiative that has let the poachers and their gangster bosses do as they will.

Wild Open Eye: New Video PSA Explodes Myths About Efficacy Of Wildlife Products

November 1, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is grateful to Andy Luck, host of my sister (or brother) blog for the following. Please spread it around, particularly if you live in Indochina. And especially if you live in Vietnam or know people who do.

New post on Wild Open Eye

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New Video PSA Explodes Myths About Efficacy Of Wildlife Products

by wildopeneye

This news just in from Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), celebrities speak out against myths about use of wildlife products in their new video PSA: "Tiêu thụ ĐVHD không giúp bạn thành công hơn!"

ENV has released a new public service announcement (PSA), starring five well-known Vietnamese public figures urging the public not to consume wildlife.

The new one-minute PSA will be aired on national and provincial TV stations in Vietnam throughout November and December. It features former politician Vũ Mão, scientist Nguyễn Lân Dũng, businessman Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, wrestling coach Mẫn Bá Xuân, and supermodel Vũ Nguyễn Hà Anh, each sharing the message that using wildlife products will not make you stronger, more intelligent, more influential, more successful or famous.

The PSA encourages people not to consume wildlife, and to report wildlife crime to the ENV hotline.

Many of Vietnam’s endangered species face the risk of extinction due to illegal hunting and trade of wildlife. Rising consumer demand for wildlife, which is served in restaurants and used in traditional medicines to ‘improve human health’, has coincided with economic development and an increased standard of living.

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“The new PSA is designed to dispel some of the myths surrounding the use of wildlife products,” said Mr. Trần Việt Hưng, Vice-Director of ENV. “With the support of so many respected, well-known public figures, the message is clear and strong that consuming wildlife will not make you stronger or more successful in any way.”

“Wildlife consumption doesn’t bring any benefits to you, but contributes to the decline of our precious wildlife and biodiversity,” said Mr. Hưng. “One of the best things anyone can do to protect wildlife is to not consume it in any form, and this is what we are encouraging, before it’s too late.”

The new PSA is the 14th public service announcement by ENV, and part of an ongoing ENV campaign over the past 12 years to reduce demand for and consumption of wildlife in Vietnam. (View the ENV Youtube Channel)

ENV wishes to thank the MacArthur Foundation for their partnership and support in producing the wildlife trade PSA.

The PSA can be watched online via this link:

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy
Communication and Public Awareness Unit
Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)
No. 5 IF1, Lane 192, Thai Thinh Street, Dong Da District, Ha Noi, Vietnam
Tel/Fax: +84 4 35148850
Email: communication.env; communication.env
Website: www.envietnam.org (English); www.thiennhien.org (Vietnamese)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EducationforNatureVietnam

About Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)

Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on conservation of nature and the environment. Our mission is to foster greater understanding amongst the Vietnamese public about environmental issues of local, national and global significance, ranging from protection of wildlife and natural ecosystems to climate change. We employ creative and innovative strategies to influence attitudes and mobilize Vietnamese citizens to live in balance with the natural world and to take action to protect Vietnam’s precious environment.

About ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline

ENV maintains a toll-free national Wildlife Crime Hotline to facilitate reporting of crimes by the general public. Trained case officers from ENV receive calls and transfer information about wildlife crimes to appropriate local authorities. Each case is then documented and tracked through to conclusion.
Members of the public are kept informed of the results of cases that they report to ENV.
So far, ENV has documented more than 4,500 wildlife crime cases resulting in confiscation of hundreds of animals, closure of wildlife markets and restaurants, removal of advertisements, and punishment to violators, as well as voluntary action by hundreds of violators after initial warnings were issued by ENV.

wildopeneye | 01/11/2012 at 8:21 am | Tags: businessman Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, Education for Nature-Vietnam, ENV, myths about wildlife products, politician Vũ Mão, PSA, scientist Nguyễn Lân Dũng, supermodel Vũ Nguyễn Hà Anh, Trần Việt Hưng, vietnamese celebrities, wrestling coach Mẫn Bá Xuân | Categories: Environmental education, Illegal Wildlife Trade, Message, Short Films | URL: http://wp.me/p10R9B-eK

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G’Day Vietnam: Three tiger carcasses found in car

May 30, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog recently posted a story on the Vietnamese appetite for cats sold by restauranteurs as ‘little tigers’ (because big tigers are too expensive and are on the brink of extinction). Unfortunately big tigers are still on some of the more exclusive menus. Three tiger carcasses have just been found in a car heading for Hanoi. One arrest was made but the other criminal gave the police the slip. The origin of the tigers has yet to be established. An AP report covering the incident noted that tiger bone paste, used as a painkiller, fetches US$1,000 per 100 grammes. I’ve heard that tiger whiskers are believed by some to cure lethargy, that the penis is credited with…well you are ahead of me here so I won’t pursue this particular avenue of superstitious folly… that teeth bring good luck and power and that tiger meat cures cancer (and tastes like chicken). But mashed bones as a painkiller? US$ 1,000 for 100 grammes of painkiller? What kind of numbnuts would pay that? One thing is abundantly clear – consuming tiger products doesn’t cure medical delusions, encourage frugality, 100 grammes of common sense or create law abiding citizens.

News Round-Up: Wildlife Law Enforcement Actions and Relevant News in the Southeast Asian region, March 2012

May 14, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s blog presents the latest round up of wildlife crime in the ASEAN region (March). The usual victims and the usual suspects I’m afraid. Website contacts for each story are provided to help you examine particular issues in greater detail. The rosewood poaching issue has been particularly prominent in South East Asia’s media recently following the shooting death of a prominent and particularly brave Cambodian environmental activist. The illegal rosewood loggers killed him while he was guiding two journalists.

BLOG ED NOTE: These round ups tend to sprawl across the blog obscuring the directory. I’ve tried to restrain them but without success. This can make the blog untidy and a little hard to navigate but the content is important so please bear with me. Thanks!

News Round-Up:
Wildlife Law Enforcement Actions
ASEAN region
March 2012

Cambodia
110kg of rosewood, and a 3kg turtle confiscated by rangers
On February 24, 2012, rangers from the Steung Proat Station confiscated a total of 3 motorbikes, 190 turtle snares, 110kg of rosewood, and a 3kg turtle. http://www.wildlifealliance.org/newsletters/2012/3/15/march-2012-newsletter.html?utm_source=Wildlife+Alliance+Members&utm_campaign=95d9b57bec-September_2011_Newsletter_General9_22_2011&utm_medium=email

Malaysia
Leopard cat, 2 jungle fowls, White-rumped Shama, and Stripe throated bulbul seized in Kampung Tok Bidor
In March of 2012, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks raided a house in Kampung Tok Bidor and seized 1 leopard cat, 2 jungle fowls, 1 White-rumped Shama, and 1 Stripe throated bulbul, kept in separate cages. http://www.kosmo.com.my/kosmo/content.asp?y=2012&dt=0228&pub=Kosmo&sec=Negara&pg=ne_09.htm#.T1XECXwV_wo.gmail

18 pangolins seized in Peninsular Malaysia
On March 17, 2012, authorities from the Perak State Wildlife and National Parks Department in Ipoh and Gerik arrested 2 men and seized 18 pangolins from a vehicle near a protected area in the northern state of Perak in Peninsular Malaysia. The case in being investigated under Section 68 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010. The pangolins have been released into the wild. – http://www.traffic.org/home/2012/3/21/pangolin-seizure-highlights-malaysiathailand-smuggling-route.html

Philippines
Total of 1.1 million board feet of illegally cut lumber seized and 85 arrested under the anti-illegal logging campaign in Caraga Region
Anti-illegal logging drive nets 85 arrests, P17-M hot logs in Caraga Region – The government’s anti-illegal logging campaign in Caraga Region caused the arrests of 85 suspected illegal loggers, seizure of 1.1 million board feet of illegally cut lumbers worth about P17 million. that needed 110 ten-wheelers logging trucks to haul and conducted an over-all 159 operations by joint PNP-DENR and Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) teams. – http://www.zambotimes.com/archives/45445-Anti-illegal-logging-drive-nets-85-arrests%2c-P17-M-hot-logs-in-Caraga-Region.html

Thailand
Taiwanese arrested with baby chameleon and snakes
Taiwanese arrested with baby chameleon and snakes (February 13 email)

Indonesian arrested with tortoises and turtles worth 300,000.00 THB
On February 14, 2012, an Indonesian was arrested with Sulcata tortoises, radiated tortoises, and turtles with an estimated value of 300,000.00 THB. Suspect to be charged under Fisheries Act, Customs Act, and WARPA.

2 tiger poachers sentenced
On February 19, 2012, 2 Tiger poachers arrested in Thailand in July 2011 were found guilty. One Thai Hmong was given a five-year sentence, while a Vietnamese citizen was given a four-year sentence. http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2012/03/07/Tiger-poachers-sentenced-in-Thailand/UPI-44171331169019/?spt=hs&or=sn

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/03/09/tiger-poachers-receive-sentences/\

Seized rare animals worth 200 million THB
On March 8, 2012, a 100-member combined force of officers from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division and the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department raided a 100-rai compound in Kaeng Khoi district, Saraburi and found several hundred rare animals worth 200 million THB. Included in the seizures are: 5 tigers, 13 white lions, 3 pumas, 3 kangaroos, 4 flamingos, 2 crowned cranes, 66 marmosets, 2 orangutans, and 2 red pandas. The owner was charged with operating a zoo and possessing wildlife without permission.
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crimes/283612/animals-seized-after-shelter-raid
http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2012/bangkok-slaughterhouse-raid-leads-to-major-trafficking-centre/
http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120309-332482.html

2 wildlife dealers arrested by Thai police officers in Pattaya
On March 14, 2012 that Thai police officers, under training in Pattaya, arrested 2 wildlife dealers involved in the sale of slow loris during a practice mission to a local market. http://wildlifenews.co.uk/2012/police-trainees-arrest-slow-loris-dealers/

Viet Nam
315 kg of frozen wildlife meat confiscated
On January 10, 2012, authorities in Gia Lai raided a resident’s home and confiscated 315 kg of frozen wildlife meat.

Hanoi EP confiscates 7 leopard cats
From January to February of 2012 during the Chinese New Year, the Hanoi EP confiscated 7 leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) being illegally transported and/or kept in restaurants and other businesses. Suspects involved are awaiting prosecution.

2 Hawksbill sea turtles rescued in Khanh Hoa
On February 7, 2012, Khanh Hoa authorities confiscated 2 Hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) from a local gas station. The animals were released into the Dam Mon Nature Reserve.

Seized dead tiger confiscated by Quang Ninh EP
On February 14, 2012, Quang Ninh EP confiscated a dead tiger hidden in an ambulance. The tiger was suspected to have originated from Laos to be taken to China.

5 tonnes of frozen pangolins and iguanas seized by Vietnamese police
On March 21, 2012, Vietnamese police seized 5 tonnes of frozen pangolins and iguanas destined for China.

Relevant Wildlife Enforcement News
March 2012

Should we legalize horn trade to save the animals?
A spike in the poaching of elephants and rhinos has become so alarming that experts are debating controversial plans to permit the legalized international trade of ivory and rhino horn. – http://news.discovery.com/animals/poaching-ivory-rhino-elephants-120203.html
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/03/05/3445685.htm?topic=enviro

Rhino Horns Injected with Poison to Deter Poachers
Conservationists have attempted injecting toxins into rhino horns to thwart poachers in South Africa. Rhino poaching is a big business that has endangered the species as the animals are regularly slaughtered for their horns, which are then used in folk remedies. – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/308134/20120302/rhino-horn-injected-poison-poachers-africa.htm#ixzz1t6xzACEy

Pangolins: Quietly Being Driven Towards Their Extinction
The pangolin is a scaly anteater found in Southeast Asia and several African countries. These nocturnal mammals are often found burrowing or feeding on ants and termites with their incredibly long sticky tongues (up to sixteen inches in length). Pangolins are known for their vibrant and nearly impenetrable armor-plated scales. When they are threatened, they roll into a ball and use these sharp scales to protect them. This defensive mechanism works very well against most predators, but illegal poaching and trading have been killing off these fascinating creatures at an alarming rate. – http://greenanswers.com/news/277588/pangolins-quietly-being-driven-towards-their-extinction#ixzz1t75joUWu

Black ivory – IT IS a bad time to be an elephant, particularly in Africa. Almost 24 tonnes of illegally harvested ivory were seized by investigators in 2011
The largest haul since records began in 1990 and more than twice the amount in 2010. Traffic, a wildlife watchdog, reckons around 2,500 elephants must have died to produce so much ivory. This year could be worse. More than 200 elephants were killed in a single state of Cameroon in the first six weeks of 2012. – http://www.economist.com/node/21549969

More People, Less Biodiversity? The Complex Connections Between Population Dynamics and Species Loss
This much is clear: As human numbers have grown, the number of species with whom we share the planet has declined dramatically. While it took about 200,000 years for humanity to reach one billion people around 1800, world population has grown sevenfold since then, surpassing seven billion last year. – http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2012/03/more-people-less-biodiversity-complex.html

Should the location of newly discovered species be hidden?
Discovering a new species can be the defining moment of a biologist’s career, but for some it can also mean exposing rare and vulnerable animals to the dark world of the wildlife pet trade, with catastrophic results. It’s a scientific dilemma that has led some conservationists to question whether it would be better to hide their findings from the world. – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17386764

Biggest Crackdown in History on Ivory Traders
Interpol is carrying out the largest anti-elephant ivory poaching operation ever mounted following mass killings in Africa. Wildlife agents in 14 different African countries have been raiding outlets and hunting down traders to crack down on the multi-million pound industry. Operation Worthy, as it is being called, is aimed at stifling the increasing demand in illegal elephant ivory, mostly from Asian countries such as China. – http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16192133

CITES seeks tougher limits on coral, shark, dolphin trade
UN wildlife trade regulator CITES said Wednesday that tougher limits should be imposed on trade of aquatic species such as corals, dolphins and sturgeons to protect them from extinction. – http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iCZKKZUXfaEs9W4EAlAeiQy9lZmw?docId=CNG.3563c0c8bcb14d5370bbd418163e59e6.911

Marine Protected Areas Prove to be Vital Aspect of Green Turtle Sustainability
Some sea turtles appear to be reaping the benefits of government designated areas of bodies of water, known as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A recent study published in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography suggests that the MPAs are playing a key role in the support and nourishment of the Green turtle. – http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112497821/marine-protected-areas-prove-to-be-vital-aspect-of-green-turtle-sustainability/

Illegal logging makes billions for gangs
Report says Illegal logging generates $10-15bn (£7.5-11bn) around the world, according to new analysis from the World Bank. Its report, Justice for Forests, says that most illegal logging operations are run by organised crime, and much of the profit goes to corrupt officials. – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17448581

Follow the money to catch the illegal loggers: World Bank
The same follow-the-money approach used to catch drug kingpins and human traffickers could be used to track down the big operators behind large-scale illegal logging, the World Bank said on Tuesday. Around the world, illegal loggers cut down an area of forest the size of a football field every two seconds, generating criminal proceeds of between $10 billion and $15 billion annually, the Bank said in a report.- http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/us-logging-money-idUSBRE82K00620120321

Saving elephants by cutting the illegal ivory supply chain
The illegal ivory trade starts with the slaughter of elephants, continues with wildlife traffickers smuggling ivory across international borders and ends with the under-the-counter sale of carvings, signature stamps and trinkets, in marketplaces in Asia and online. – http://rushprnews.com/2012/03/23/saving-elephants-by-cutting-the-illegal-ivory-supply-chain

Not a Normal Killing
Reeking of infection, the elephant stumbled into the Tanzanian camp where Thomas Appleby works as a safari manager. Its back legs festered with gangrene radiating from the open, pungent wounds that the animal had evidently endured for at least two long weeks. Ivory poachers had shot the elephant in both legs, but it had probably bolted before they could subdue the massive beast enough to hack off its tusks. The infection had slowly spread throughout the animal’s limbs, and Appleby had to put it down. – http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/03/26/not-a-normal-killing/

Enforcement chiefs at INTERPOL-UNEP inaugural meeting design blueprint for environmental security
National leaders of environmental, biodiversity and natural resources agencies, and departments with law enforcement responsibility, have gathered for the first time to design a global compliance and enforcement strategy to address environmental security. – http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News-media-releases/2012/PR027
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/29/interpol-environmental-crime-ivory-poaching?newsfeed=true

Lift rhino trade ban: Hunters
Giving endangered species such as rhinos a commercial value was the only way to save them from extinction, the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) said. SAHGCA manager Dr Herman Els said they would ask South Africa to lobby for a change in the white rhino’s status at the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in 2013, to enable a controlled trade in rhino horn, Beeld reported on Friday. – http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2012/03/30/life-rhino-trade-ban-hunters

Brunei Darussalam
Strict steps to curb poaching in Brunei
The Forestry Department is strengthening its wildlife enforcement measures to curb poaching and illegal logging that take place in the deep Brunei forests, said the Deputy Director of Forestry Department. In an interview with The Brunei Times, Mahmud Hj Yussof said that relevant laws will be established "under one roof"’ to strengthen monitoring and enforcement activities for preserving the wildlife and rainforests in Brunei. – http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20120326-335700.html

Cambodia
Saving the sun bears

He knows each of the bears at the rescue centre by name, and they know him by sight. “If they see you one or two times they remember you, especially if you are bringing food,” explains Choun Vuthy, who seems to have been born smiling and never stopped since.Vuthy has been caring for Sun and Asiatic Black bears at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre since 1997, when there were only six. Now there are 118. – http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012032355230/7-Days/saving-the-sun-bears.html

Blind eye to forest’s plight
Rangers paid by an internationally funded conservation organisation have been directly profiting for years from the very trade they are supposed to be preventing in southwest Cambodia, documents obtained by the Post allege – http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012032655247/National-news/blind-eye-to-forests-plight.html

Indonesia
Nowhere to Hide: New Study Finds Human Activities Pushing Sumatran Tigers Closer to Extinction
A new study by Virginia Tech and World Wildlife Fund found that Sumatran tigers are nearing extinction as a result of human activities, particularly the conversion of natural forests into plantations for palm oil and pulp and paper. http://www.timesunion.com/business/press-releases/article/Nowhere-to-Hide-New-Study-Finds-Human-Activities-3370399.php#ixzz1t6wCkHQe

Greenpeace accuses APP in illegal logging scandal
One of the world’s largest paper companies is illegally harvesting trees and destroying the habitats of rare Sumantran tigers to produce products sold on the shelves of major US retailers, Greenpeace alleged in a report released on Thursday. The report, which is based on findings from a year-long investigation by the environmental advocacy organization, claims that Asia Pulp and Paper is breaking Indonesian forest laws by using an endangered hardwood called ramin in its paper mills. – http://www.eco-business.com/features/greenpeace-accuses-app-in-illegal-logging-scandal/

Smuggled turtles sent back home to India
The Indonesian government repatriated 19 star tortoise (Geochelone elegans), smuggled into the country through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in November 2011, back to their original habitat in India. – http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/03/09/smuggled-turtles-sent-back-home-india.html

Female ranger helps in taking care of Indonesia’s wildlife
GUARDING and protecting Indonesia’s biodiversity and wildlife is a tremendous challenge. Imagine these riches: Indonesia covers a mere 1.3 percent of the earth’s surface, yet it harbors 10 percent of all flowering plants, 12 percent of the world’s mammals, 16 percent of the world’s reptiles and amphibians, 17 percent of all birds, and more than a quarter of all marine and freshwater fish. This wealth can be attributed to the fact that Indonesia spans two major biogeographical realms: Indo-Malaya and Australasia, and is divided into seven distinct biogeographic regions. – http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/science/24322-female-ranger-helps-in-taking-care-of-indonesias-wildlife

Nantu’s forest facing endless threats
It’s always lively and noisy in the forest of Nantu in the morning, with birds singing, macaques shrieking and jumping, and allo or white-tailed hornbills occasionally flapping their wings vigorously. On the forest floor are creeping and interwoven green rattan stems the size of adult human wrists, with their young shoots partly buried before winding up and around towering trees. The sky is obscured, covered by the dense jungle. – http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/03/13/nantu-s-forest-facing-endless-threats.html

Increasing, the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Bird Markets in Java and Bali Islands
The illegal wildlife trade occurring in a number of bird (animal/pet) markets in Java and Bali Islands has been likely to increase since early 2012. ProFauna Indonesia’s survey conducted in eight bird markets in the islands between January and February 2012 shows an increase in the number and species of animals being traded. In January 2012, there were more than 41 protected animals sold in the markets While in February, the figure increased to 62 individuals. Likewise, the species also increases. There were 12 species in January 2012 and increased to 15 species in February 2012. – http://www.profauna.net/en/press-release/2012/increasing-the-illegal-wildlife-trade-in-bird-markets-in-java-and-bali-islands
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/tour-of-indonesian-animal-markets-finds-protected-species/505318

Lao PDR
Laos’ Unethical Monkeys
When it comes to neighborly relations, Laos has often walked a fine line. Its insistence on, then a “maybe, maybe not” attitude to the construction of the Xayaburi Dam that threatens fish stocks in the lower reaches of the Mekong River, has tested relations with Vietnam and Cambodia. More broadly, its inability to curb wildlife trafficking has been a bone of contention among international authorities seeking to stop unscrupulous trade in live animals and their body parts. –http://the-diplomat.com/asean-beat/2012/03/10/laos%E2%80%99-unethical-monkeys/

ACRES & Lao Zoo set up Vientiane centre to curb illegal wildlife trade
Singapore animal welfare group ACRES and Lao Zoo have set up the first Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre in Vientiane, Laos. ACRES, which stands for Animal Concerns Research and Education Society, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the ACRES Wildlife Rescue and Education Centre (AWREC) in Laos on Wednesday. Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugam and Laos Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith were present at the ceremony. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1191727/1/.html
http://www.asianscientist.com/topnews/acres-lao-zoo-establish-wildlife-rescue-education-center-vientiane-lao-pdr-2012/
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/international/a-new-sanctuary-for-rescued-bears-in-laos/507880

Laos logging incident sees man shot, injured
A Cambodian man was injured last week after Lao authorities shot him while he was illegally logging rosewood in Laos’ Champasak district, near Stung Treng province, authorities said yesterday. Siem Pang district police chief Var Sophan told the Post yesterday that 27-year-old Sarin Da was accompanied by eight other “tresspassers”. – http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2012032655242/National-news/laos-logging-incident-sees-man-shot-injured.html

Malaysia
Brighter future for jumbos
A new home awaits elephants which have been displaced from their natural habitat. With an increasing number of wild elephants being displaced from their forested habitat or injured by snares, a rescue centre is badly needed to shelter these animals. Such a facility, the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary, will soon open in the district of Kinabatangan in the east coast of Sabah. – http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2012/3/6/lifefocus/10566616&sec=lifefocus

Cooperation of all parties need to combat illegal wildlife trade
Minister – The cooperation all parties is needed to protect and prevent the illegal trade of wildlife in the country, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas. He said the goverment had many programme and legal framework to combat this problem but still needed cooperation from various parties in the country. – http://my.news.yahoo.com/cooperation-parties-combat-illegal-wildlife-trade-minister-082613243.html

Wildlife trafficking drops 80%
Wildlife trafficking cases have dropped by over 80% since the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 came into force. Wildlife Department figures showed that just 464 cases were recorded last year, compared to an average of 3,500 cases a year between 2007-2010. – http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/15/nation/20120315143602&sec=nation

“Where’s My Mama? 2.0” Campaign Launched in Malaysia
The Slow Loris, one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, shot to fame after various videos of the animal’s cute antics on YouTube went viral. A public enamored by its cute and cuddly appearance is fueling the illegal trade with little realization that Slow Loris infants are often stolen from their mothers to cater to the clamor for an adorable pet. The mothers are often killed or sold separately – either way leaving the young on their own with little hope for survival. – http://empowerednews.net/wheres-my-mama-2-0-campaign-launched-in-malaysia/1821324/

Philippines
Paje urges Lawmakers to classify Illegal Logging as a High crime
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje is urging lawmakers to act immediately against the continued killing of forest protection workers by enacting laws classifying illegal logging as a heinous crime. Paje made the appeal following the death of another DENR employee in Agusan del Sur by suspected illegal loggers. – http://www.denr.gov.ph/index.php/news-and-features/latest-news/594-paje-urges-lawmakers-to-classify-illegal-logging-as-a-high-crime.html

Cebu tops illegal logs destination in Region 7
The province of Cebu is the top destination of illegal logs from Mindanao last year, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7). More than half of the illegal logs confiscated by DENR in Central Visayas last year were in Cebu. Seized here were forest products reaching 250,6671 cubic meters worth P12,669,179.00. – http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/163865/cebu-tops-illegal-logs-destination-in-region-7

DENR frees protected bird species
Officials from the DENR Protected Areas and Wildlife Section (PAWS) yesterday morning released a silky purple-blue fresh water bird to its habitat at the Bog Lake of barangay San Roque, this city. – http://www.zamboangatoday.ph/index.php/news/13-top-stories/9340-denr-frees-protected-bird-specie.html

Thailand
Recent wildlife seizures open lid on burgeoning industry
A series of large hauls of live and dead wild animals _ and especially tigers _ over the past two months has blown the lid off the illegal wildlife trade and unlicensed breeding of exotic animals in Thailand. – http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crimes/283927/recent-wildlife-seizures-open-lid-on-burgeoning-industry

State agencies vow better safety for jumbos
State agencies have pledged to boost the protection of elephants which are faced with threats ranging from poaching to maltreatment. Damrong Pidech, chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, yesterday said the department backed plans to amend regulations on issuing ID cards to captive elephants to make it an effective tool to prevent poaching. – http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/284238/state-agencies-vow-better-safety-for-jumbos

Furore intensifies over elephant trade in Thailand
Repeated government raids on respected wildlife sanctuaries have damaged Thailand’s image at home and abroad. They may also have undermined the position of the National Parks chief, whose judgment has been called into serious question since revelations that killings of mature elephants in Kaeng Krachan recently were orchestrated to supply babies to elephant tourist parks – with the involvement of top officials in that park, several hours south of Bangkok. – http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Furore-intensifies-over-elephant-trade-in-Thailand-30177691.html

Phuket Elephants Being Examined in Checks for Illegal Animals
Elephants in the tourism trade are up for inspection again on Phuket this weekend with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation checking IDs. Eighteen creatures were checked this afternoon at Siam Safari and more are likely to get the once-over on Saturday and Sunday at two other Phuket camps where preliminary checks have previously been made. http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-elephants-examined-checks-illegal-animals-15674/

PES scheme to be trialed in national parks
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation plans to launch a trial Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) scheme at five national parks and one wildlife sanctuary. Songtham Suksawang, director of the National Park Research Division, said PES could be a significant financial tool for ensuring long-term sustainable development of the ecological system. It follows the concept that people who benefit from the use of natural resources should make some payment in return to the people who are in charge of the preservation and protection of those natural resources. – http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/286075/pes-to-be-used-in-national-parks

Thai nabbed in rhino horn smuggling investigation
A Thai man has been arrested at a Johannesburg casino in connection with a rhino poaching syndicate accused of hiring prostitutes to smuggle rhino horns. "He is the fourth suspect in a suspected criminal syndicate," Adrian Lackay, spokesman for the South African Revenue Service, said. – http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crimes/286453/thai-nabbed-in-rhino-horn-smuggling-investigation

Viet Nam
Scientists say elephants seriously endangered
Vietnam has been well known as a country with many elephants that can be found throughout the country. However, big international conservation organizations have repeatedly given warnings that elephants are in danger of extinction. One of the biggest threats to the life of elephants is the conflict between elephants and local residents. As the population rapidly increases, people tend to encroach into the habitat areas which were previously the territory of elephants and other wild animals. – http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/environment/19457/scientists-say-elephants-seriously-endangered.htmlhttp://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/03/05/3445685.htm?topic=enviro

Local authorities still busy themselves with plans to protect elephants and yew
In 2011, the Dak Lak provincial people’s committee approved the elephant conservation project worth 61 billion dong, and the Artemisia conservation project worth 50 billion dong, in an effort to rescue and develop the last elephant and yew individuals in the Central Highlands. However, to date, no one can say for sure when the projects would begin. Meanwhile, Dr Bao Huy from the Tay Nguyen University has warned that the slow implementation of the conservation projects would be a big disadvantage to the province, since a lot of foreign and domestic organizations now show their big interests in the conservation work. – http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/environment/19722/local-authorities-still-busy-themselves-with-plans-to-protect-elephants-and-yew.html

Nat Geo documentary on tiger smuggling to be screened in Hanoi
A National Geographic documentary about the ongoing fight against tiger smuggling in Asia will be screened in Hanoi later this month.“Tiger Traffic,” part of the National Geographic Channel’s “Crimes Against Nature” investigative documentary series, will be screened at the Hanoi Press Club on March 29. – http://www.thanhniennews.com/index/pages/20120319-nat-geo-documentary-about-tiger-smuggling-to-be-screened-in-hanoi.aspx

S.Africa Seeks Vietnam, Mozambique Help as Rhino Poaching Soars
South Africa said it’s seeking cooperation from Vietnam and Mozambique after the number of Rhinoceroses poached so far this year rose to 150. More than half of the animals were killed in the Kruger National Park, the Department of Environmental Affairs said in an e-mailed statement today. Ninety arrests related to poaching have been made this year, it said. – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-29/s-africa-seeks-vietnam-mozambique-help-as-rhino-poaching-soars.html

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.

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Vietnam: Incendiary vehicles

April 15, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog quick post. Some Vietnamese vehicles are spontaneously combusting. Buses, motorcycles, cars…They are not doing it a lot. But the ones that do ignite put on a show.

Various explanations are being offered to a concerned public. Rats gnawing fuel lines, drivers smoking while transporting petrol, mechanical defects, revolutionaries.

The culprit is most likely dirty fuel.

Investigations are ongoing. The odds of your vehicle cooking you to a crisp should you visit Vietnam are still very low. Nobody’s been killed yet and despite the very prominent public protests only 324 incidents of burning vehicles have been officially recorded since 2010.

But there is a bit of jiggery pokery ongoing. Some petrol distributors are juicing up petrol with ethanol. And Vietnam is having a heated debate.

“The safest means of transport here would be go back to carriages drawn by cows, buffalos or horses.”
(an un-named Vietnamese on the VNE website)

Vietnam: Cop catches bus

April 14, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has mixed feelings about South east Asian police (see previous post on how to bribe a Bangkok traffic policeman) but I have to admire this guy’s tenacity.

Picture the scene: We’re in Hanoi. The traffic cop (Lieutenant Nguyen Manh Phan) orders a bus driver (Phung Hong Phuong) to pull over and demands to see his paperwork. A shakedown? I cannot say. But the bus driver’s had enough and decides to speed off. Lt Phan’s not going to take that and jumps onto the windscreen holding the wipers to avoid being flung to his death. The driver clearly has issues with law enforcement officers.

For more than a kilometer the wild ride continues before the bus driver finally gets tired of seeing a cop in his face.

He pulls over.

The ride’s over.

Local media reports that the driver “could face charges of acting against public officials.”

I imagine that accusation might stick. But the police lieutenant should also be asked some serious questions about his failure to pay for a bus ticket.

Cheers!

hugh

78 Mekong dam plans promise ecological and human tragedy

March 7, 2012

 If these dam projects go ahead millions of people will be denied an essential food source and biodiversity in South East Asia, particularly in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand . Hugh Paxton’s Blog reckons stopping them will be extremely difficult but we must try. We must prevent this catastrophe in the making.   

 

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/03/05/small-dams-big-impact-on-mekong-river-fish-study/#.T1cpcaFuoaM.email

Vietnam Days (pt II): An explanation.

December 10, 2011

Observant readers of Hugh Paxton’s Blog will have noticed that the last post featured photographs of cooked dogs, rats and smoked fruitbat wings. Also that there were no images of cooked cats. Or indeed any text.

An explanation, you are no doubt thinking, is in order. Here goes. The post was meant to draw your attention to an ongoing explosion in rat populations in Thai Binh, a northern province in Vietnam. Cats, known by consumers and market butchers/restauranteurs as “little tigers” are increasingly popular for their flavour and alleged medicinal properties. Stray dogs, bred dogs, or kidnapped pet dogs in Vietnam have always been favoured for the pot and command high prices. But the cat craze is a more recent thing. And with a marked decrease in un-cooked cats has come a marked increase in rats. Rice farmers are reporting a corresponding increase in crop damage. Health authorities are urging an increase in rat poison use (which says something rather worrying about the health authorities). All in all a lot of increases in Thai Binh. One more increase is in sales of (hopefully unpoisoned) rat kebabs. The smoked fruitbat wings in the background of one image have nothing to do with the story. The images were shot by my eight-year-old daughter, Annabel in a market. She couldn’t find any cats to photograph. Which is probably just as well. I’ve probably already ruined your breakfast. The lack of text and captions in the last post were down to Hugh Paxton’s technical competence. Nothing new there!

Vietnam Days: When the cat’s away (or more precisely in the oven) the rats will play

December 9, 2011

Thai Days: Mekong river dam threatens fisheries, biodiversity and lots of poor people (as usual)

December 8, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog suggests that if you are feeling in petition-writing mode the following dam project would definitely benefit from a “stop the dam project” signature. The dam in question is called the Xayabur and is scheduled for Laos. Opponents suggest that it would be catastrophic both in ecological and human terms.

The organisation (or more accurately one of the organisations) that think this project sucks is Save the Mekong. www.tinyurl.com/SavetheMekong or facebook www.facebook.com/SavetheMekong

They can tell you all about it. The dam is the first in a series of ten dams that are proposed for the Mekong, one of the world’s great rivers.

Government officials from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are meeting this week to decide whether the dam is a good idea or not.

Xayaburi would drive the Mekong Giant Catfish and scores of other species to extinction. Hundreds of thousands of people would be affected by Xayaburi alone. Fisheries scientists from around the world agree that the impacts of Mekong Mainstream Dams cannot be mitigated. And the Mekong river would become an industrialized shadow of its former self – a river without fish, without life, without a future.”    

Save the Mekong (Our river feeds millions).


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