Environmentalism Chapter 30 – CoP 16 Report on Wildlife Crime
International Animal Rescue Foundation © is pleased with the overall majority of the meetings at the 16th conference of parties (CoP 16th) held in Bangkok, Thailand from the 4th March to the 14th March 2013, although a handful of critics state otherwise regarding Tiger, Elephants and Rhinoceros, Polar Bears and other species listed within the 34,000 species that are brought up within the meetings every three years.
We are though somewhat disappointed in other decisions of which Asia was seen to group mostly together with nations that deal in illegal ivory, Rhinoceros horn but mostly illegal weaponry taking most of the floor.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), also known as the Washington Convention adopted in 1963 and then consequently signed March 3rd 1973 by the then 177 nations which some sceptics seem to be forgetting Cites are not law makers as such. Cites is simply a “signed agreement” that consisted of 177 parties or countries with the majority of them nations from the European Union with one new nation entering four days that now consists of 178 parties in total.
Cites and the IUCN’s aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 34,000 species of animals and plants.
In order to ensure that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was not violated, the Secretariat of GATT was consulted during the drafting process. The agreement has also as of the 40th anniversary implemented and founded new adoptions such as task forces M.I.S.T from which nations will now work on forming an international conservation rescue unit to combat illegal poaching, pseudo hunting, illegal wildlife trade in plants and animals to the preservation of our water ways, soil and natural environment.
Should a serious event of poaching or natural disaster happen placing species in critical danger of extinction or other then transnational agencies will reach out to help other continents in dealing within in a multitude of tasks of which will be effective we hope within the next forty days. Forwarding on from the 15th March 2013, new Deoxyribonucleic acid laboratories will be set in place and internationally recognised departments dispatched and organized to now hit poaching and wildlife crime harder than before, although this is going to take some time to establish we will await and view what the outcomes of M.I.S.T and how effective other orders implemented will come about.
Cites and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature DO NOT see “hunting as a crime” or major problem from which it clearly explains that “sustainable utilization” to protect species is a must as explained in part of their mission statement above to not threaten the survival of the species in the wild http://www.cfr.org/natural-resources-management/convention-international-trade-endangered-species-wild-fauna-flora-cites/p21750 http://www.iucn.org/about/union/commissions/cec/cec_how_we_work/
Sharks, Tiger, Elephants and Rhinoceros;
Much confusion is floating on the international networks that Cites has been caught with its pants down as is only thinking of monetary gain, this is complete utter nonsense. CITES is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.”
In laymen’s terms each nation has to engage in protection of some 34,000 species from which they can ignore such as most of Asia has. However should the “signed parties” FAIL then sanctions can and will be placed of which evidence is shown by the nation’s effected to those that are want action or are concerned with crime in their continent.
The states then voluntary agree by VOTING that sanctions will be implemented. By applying these sanctions this then BANS the aggressor nations from importing, or exporting any of the listed 34,000 species of plants and animals that would see the violating the nations revenue hit drastically.
The 16th meetings of the Conference of Parties (CoP) finally after much debate and disapproval by Asia and some African nations, listed the Ceanic White-tip sharks, three species of Hammerhead Sharks, Scalloped Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, and Smooth Hammerhead, Porbeagle sharks and manta rays. We are very pleased by this as some 100 million Sharks and Rays a year are slaughtered for their fins to produce Asian Shark Fin soup and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Had this very historical move by all nations not of been implemented then the Sharks explained above would have been pushed to near extinction from over fishing, poaching, hunting, and the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade which in turn would also have seen a mass over population of their prey thus placing more small species of marine aquatic life in danger we would also of seen a colossal loss of such amazing species effecting marine biodiversity more.
Asia are the main number one offenders and should such nations NOT abide by the ruling that will come into place after the honey moon period of 40 days then sanctions could be placed at any alternative meetings plus17 Conference of Parties (CoP) thus seeing ALL trade banned.
Although the Tiger species was not mentioned much about in the meetings it was actually spoken about on the just before the meetings of which Cites quoted the following;
Police and customs heads from 13 Asian countries agreed today to tighten controls and improve cross-border cooperation to curb the illegal smuggling of tigers and other critically endangered species. The accord came at the conclusion of the two-day international “Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime”, which brought together top Police and Customs Officers from countries that still have tigers living in the wild.
Hosted by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), and organised by INTERPOL, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and with the technical and financial support from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretariat and the World Bank, the Tiger Seminar objective was for participants to agree on a robust set of law enforcement-based solutions to protect tigers and other rare and highly threatened species.
“The tale of the Tiger is not simply about conservation, it is also about crime,” said Mr. Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director. “It concerns transnational organized crime, high profits, widespread corruption, money laundering, fraud, counterfeiting, and violence.”
The Tiger Seminar brought together 26 delegates from 13 tiger range countries as well as senior representatives from ICCWC members and key partner organisations operating in the field of tiger conservation and wildlife crime. A critical Tiger Seminar activity was to raise awareness among Police and Customs authorities of the impact wildlife trafficking has on wild tigers.
“We must take immediate and urgent action to save these magnificent animals from extinction,” said Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General. “The global Customs community is firmly committed to working closely with its partners to stop criminal trafficking in endangered species and other environment sensitive goods, by ensuring more vigilant and effective border enforcement among a range of measures.”
Environmental crime is a serious international problem with a detrimental impact on the global economy and security. Criminals violate national and international laws through increasingly sophisticated techniques and highly organised networks. Their activities directly affect human health, and threaten the environment and global biodiversity.
“Our efforts to fight tiger crime must not just result in seizures – they must result in prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the flow of contraband,” said Mr. John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General. “If we get the enforcement system right for the tiger, we will help save countless other species together with their ecosystems.”
Tiger conservation experts presented an up-to-date situation analysis of wild tiger conservation threats, particularly worldwide and Asian trans-national organized crime links to wildlife crimes, including the trade in tigers and tiger parts.
“Wildlife and other environmental criminals too often operate in remote areas with impunity, evading detection, and circumventing full prosecution under the law,” said Mr. Keshav Varma, Program Director, World Bank Global Tiger Initiative. “The World Bank and Global Tiger Initiative fully support the resolve of the police and customs officials from tiger range countries to collaborate on intelligence. We applaud efforts to intensify pressure on the organizers of criminal networks and corrupt officials who shield them.”
Working with environmental crime experts, participating tiger-range country police and customs senior officials agreed on cross-border action points, opportunities and cooperation strategies, after discussing national priorities, challenges, and reviewing best practices.
“This important seminar has highlighted the environmental crime challenges facing senior law enforcement officers and the need for enhanced international cooperation.” said Mr. Jean-Michel Louboutin, INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services. “Criminals cannot prosper from abusing our shared natural heritage.”
Tiger Seminar attendees discussed the need to develop a coordinated response to combat tiger crime.
“We need to work collectively through our respective environmental programmes,” said INTERPOL’s Mr. Jean-Michel Louboutin. “In this context, the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore will from 2014 provide a key platform to fight environmental crimes in the 21st century.”
The Seminar also recognised INTERPOL’s Project Predator, which aims to develop the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies and form National Environmental Security Task Forces.
“If we lose an emblematic species like the Tiger, mankind will be acknowledging that it is prepared to lose any animal on the planet. This must not be allowed to happen.” said Mr. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC. “By our actions, we must show that we have the capacity, the ability and the commitment to protect other species living on this planet.”
Compelled by the need to urgently respond to the burgeoning threat of environmental crime, five inter-governmental organisations formed in 2010 the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime or ICCWC (read I-Quick). These organisations are: the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The consortium seeks to scale up wildlife law enforcement effectiveness, by intelligence-led interdiction and advanced investigative methods.
The “Heads of Police and Customs Seminar on Tiger Crime” is one of the Consortium’s first activities. It is a follow-up to the November 2010 St. Petersburg Summit on Tiger Conservation, during which Heads of Governments of 13 tiger range countries committed to increase their cooperation to eradicate poaching, smuggling, and the illegal trade in tigers and tiger parts. Addressing illegal trade is an essential part of the Global Tiger Recovery Program, a comprehensive 12-year strategy endorsed by all 13 countries to double the population of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.
The Seminar also addressed Decision 15.48 made at the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held in Doha in 2010, which states: “The Secretariat shall seek funds to convene, as soon as possible, a seminar involving senior-level Customs and police officers from tiger range States, to brief them on the threatened status of this species, particularly the impact wildlife crime has upon it. The officials shall also be briefed by the Secretariat regarding the Global Tiger Summit, planned under the Global Tiger Initiative, so that the law enforcement community throughout tiger range States is prepared to engage in efforts to safeguard this species and respond to measures adopted at the Summit. The Secretariat shall collaborate with ICPO-INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organization in preparing the seminar.”
Cites recognises that the PAOCHING crises is more of a challenge and by hitting this hard and also WARNING the offending nations that should they NOT cease or tackle poaching then by CoP 17sanctions will be placed and that will effect over twenty three nations. Cites and the signed nations have also agreed to input more Tigers into the wild, which would boost their number up by 3,000. Should the violating nations then not ACT sanctions could be placed on all nations.
Placing sanctions would be seen as catastrophic to those that deal in animal and plant part trade, many people rely on animals and plants that brings in on the “legal market millions” in revenue on the illegal market though the entire animal part trade is bringing in an estimated $25 million a year with the illegal plant trade taking in over $12 million. Think of it like a school child being given a warning “misbehave again and all your pocket money is removed”. However in order for all nations to agree on FIRMLY on this at the next meeting then the Tiger and other big cats need highlighting more.
With regards to Tiger bine wine it has been suggested in many reports and those reports from ourselves that most Tiger bine wine is now counterfeit, or is in fact a substitute. Other wildcats are being used for such non-medicinal liquors from the Lion to the Ocelot. The same applies to the Tiger balm and Rhinoceros horn of which 80% of Rhinoceros horn is indeed fake/imitation made up of fine resins and minerals.
Rhinoceros and Elephant;
The ivory trade is the commercial, often illegal trade in the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, Asian and African elephants.
Ivory has been traded for hundreds of years by people in such regions as Greenland, Alaska, and Siberia. The trade, in more recent times, has led to endangerment of species, resulting in restrictions and bans.
While African elephants have been hunted for several centuries, the exploitation of elephant herds on a massive scale began in the 1970s. Organized gangs of poachers used automatic weapons, profited from government corruption, and laundered tons of elephant tusks through several African countries to destinations in Eastern and Western countries.
Threatened with extinction, the elephant is theoretically protected from international trade by their listing on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1989. The enforcement of this ban, the level of compliance adhered to by CITES Parties, the response of non-CITES members, as well as the policy question as to how trade “interventions” best serve the environmental objective of species preservation, are all key concerns of this dispute.
Both Asian (Elephant maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants are listed on Appendix I of CITES The Asian Elephant is now heavily endangered. Male Asian elephants have small tusks and Asian females are tuskless.
Remaining herds are located in small numbers in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Sumatra and are now populated for 2012-13 at 22,000. The Asian species once was found throughout Southern Asia, was severely over-hunted. Although ivory trade has experienced sustained growth since the 1940s, the huge increase that occurred during the 1970s was the result of automatic weapons availability and widespread government corruption in many exporting countries which decimated elephant populations across Africa.
In the 1960s, raw ivory prices remained between $3 and $10 per pound. In 1975, the price reached $50 because ivory was perceived as a valuable hedge against rising inflation. By 1987, the price was $125 per pound. The relative price inelasticity of ivory also fuelled demand.
New manufacturing techniques which enabled the mass production of ivory carvings along with rising demand in East Asia led to increased elephant kills.
Hong Kong was the primary consumer of raw ivory from 1979 to 1987 and probably remains important today. Japan was the second largest consumer in this time (whose market share dropped markedly during the period), followed by Taiwan (whose share rose). For both Hong Kong and Taiwan, there is significant trans-shipment of product to China. In 1979 the EC began was a major consumer, but by 1987 its share dropped to 4 per cent. At the same time, the United States market share rose from 1 to 6 per cent
Cites quoted at CoP 15 the following;
“There has been increasing willingness within the Parties to allow for trade in products from well-managed populations. For instance, sales of the South African white rhino have generated revenues that helped pay for protection”. “Listing the species on Appendix I increased the price of rhino horn (which fuelled more poaching), but the species survived wherever there was adequate on-the-ground protection. Thus field protection may be the primary mechanism that saved the population, but it is likely that field protection would not have been increased without CITES protection”.
Trade in both Ivory and Rhinoceros horn is banned so there is not much now that Cites can do other than now order an ultimatum to the main twenty three nations that should the poaching not be ceased by the removal of ivory and tackling poachers, couriers, purchasers, kingpins to drug barons then Cites will as explained above impose immediate sanctions which would severely impact on the economy hard off the violating nations. However could placing sanction’s then increase poaching more?
This is the main worry that Cites has hence why they are cautions with regards to listing other Elephant and Rhinoceros species. So these offending nations are being given the chance, with the help of increased law enforcement, M.I.S.T and environmental policing agencies and “HELP of the Google to now remove all banned animal parts thus hitting demand harder and pushing the criminals into the streets which International Animal Rescue Foundation © required to now combat crime and cease all trade in three years. SHOULD it fail then sanctions will be implemented.
The conference has identified 23 countries including China, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo that are key to the supply and consumption of ivory.
A committee of the conference will outlined the actions that each of these countries must take to stem the trade. If these steps are not taken by the summer of 2014, sanctions could be applied.
It depends though on how much progress there is, but if there is absolutely no intent to follow up on those actions, sanctions are a very real possibility,” Targets for countries like Nigeria were achievable.
If you see ivory being sold at the airport terminals, all they need to do is shut it down. These are do-able actions, they are not ones that would require a great deal of new resources.
Governments were no longer seeing these species issues as being about biodiversity – they were seen as threats to national security. The criminals who are now poaching elephants and smuggling tiger parts are the same who are funding terrorism and funding militias.
Hong Kong is already at the front line with colossal seizures from 2011-2013 http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1190036/hand-organised-crime-ivory-trade
Tourists are being urged now to STOP purchasing ivory from which International Animal Rescue Foundation © has seen much off and sent many papered documents to the environmental law enforcement agencies to now cease this, the press have launched now a multi-national appeal to STOP purchasing ivory this hitting trade even more http://www.asianewsnet.net/Thailand-tourists-urged-to-refrain-from-buying-ivo-43984.html
Please read following reports http://www.cites.org/eng/news/pr/2012/20120621_elephant_poaching_ivory_smuggling.php
Taiwan has stated it will also burn all ivory and ban all market trade before the next summit, Taiwan is the largest distributor and importer of ivory internationally with China and Vietnam being the second and third. http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/338598/thailand-in-landmark-pledge-to-end-its-ivory-trade all reports can be viewed here http://www.cites.org/eng/news/cuttings/2013.php
Rhinoceros is also under the same predicament and although there was not a mention of the trade being lifted at the Cites conference it has been seen by some “mostly Rhinoceros owners and some wildlife” agencies as unfair to allow the ivory trade to commence yet “not the Rhinoceros horn” however that is just blatantly ridiculous as on cannot de-tusk as Elephant of which all monies amassed from “sized Ivory” went into conservation protection “although that protection is to still to be seen” the sale never actually decreased poaching just made matters worse by supplying the market thus keeping the demand flow high and lucrative.
The Chinese government also then after purchasing the ivory re-sold this on for 10X the price they paid for it “that’s why poaching didn’t decrease”. The same in theory has been applied to the Rhinoceros from which the Department of Environmental Affairs quoted that the “the Rhinoceros horn debate will NOT “be lifted BUT has to spoke on as this a taboo area.
This clumsy researcher that was born in Africa that now resides in Australia printed this article on the Rhinoceros horn debate then instructed all of his friends and family, university students and more to not sign the AVVAZ petition https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150614157465933&set=a.10150167025165933.306936.633775932&type=1&theater then consequently contacted the DEA and other agencies to pressure the South African government on legalising it. Maybe he simply doesn’t understand a simple thing of what actually happened to the Elephant species. – http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3701680.htm
Most of the demand for rhino horn comes from China and Vietnam, where it is used to treat ailments ranging from headaches to cancer. The horn has no real curative powers, however–it is composed of keratin, the same material human fingernails are made of. Delegates to CoP16 in Bangkok, Thailand, congratulated the Department of Environmental Affairs for its initiatives to combat rhino poaching on the sidelines of the conference saying initiatives presently being undertaken in South Africa would enhance the global effort to fight all trans-boundary wildlife crimes.
The Department of Environmental Affairs then stated http://za.news.yahoo.com/south-africa-mulls-legal-rhino-horn-trade-123704593.html trade “has to spoke about of which SHE DID NOT state that the Rhinoceros trade WOULD be lifted. The DEA minster quoted;
“I must state categorically that there is no decision by South Africa on whether to apply to CITES at CoP17 to legalise the trade in rhino horn, or to permit the once-off sale of rhino horn stockpiles to fund conservation efforts, has been made.”
Edna Molewa 2013 March – Statement issued in the 8th March;
Update for Rhinoceros poaching 15th March 2013 is 158 Poached dead https://www.environment.gov.za/?q=content/stats_rhino_poaching_update
We were concerned about this statement though of which is going in favour of the hunting fraternity that see sustainable utilization as the only answer to control “species over population”. In our eyes there is no such thing as “animal species over population”. Our concepts are clear of which habitat destruction is the main number one issue that has to be tackled. The DEA minster quoted;
“South Africa’s position will be informed by, and based on, sustainable use principles with the long term conservation of species as the overall objective. Proposals that will ensure responsible utilization and conservation of the species concerned will be supported by South Africa”.
“Over 90 per cent of Africa’s white rhino and approximately 35% of Africa’s black rhino occur in South Africa. Rhino populations occur in formally proclaimed conservation areas as well as on private land, with the private sector contributing approximately 2.2 million hectares of land towards rhino conservation, with more than 4 000 rhino in private ownership. The populations occur throughout South Africa in all its provinces”.
“South Africa developed a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the Black rhino, aimed at ensuring the long-term survival in nature of the species, and is in the process of developing a BMP for white rhino. Key elements are the maintenance of existing ranges, the promotion of long term genetic viability and the establishment of new viable populations. South Africa shared information relating to the status of its rhino populations and interventions implemented and planned to secure its long term survival”.
South Africa has seen an increase in the illegal killing of its rhinoceros population, especially the white rhino population in the Kruger National Park where 425 animals have been poached for its horns in 2012.
While it is clear that rhino poaching has increased, so too has the focus and activities of the South African security forces in attempts to protect the rhino. South Africa has implemented various measures to counter the slaughtering of its rhino population, but 2012 saw the greatest number of rhinoceros killed in a single year, i.e. 668.
The side event at CITES CoP 16 was intended to show participants, attending the CoP, what South Africa has done in the fight against the illegal killing of rhino and illegal trade in rhino horn; and what additional measures are required to ensure the safety and security of our rhinoceros population.
The current annotation to the Appendix II listing of the white rhino populations of South Africa and Swaziland restricts trade to live specimens to appropriate and acceptable destinations and hunting trophies. A proposal to prohibit the export of hunting trophies until at least CoP 18 was submitted by a Party for consideration to the 16th CoP to CITES. This proposal was opposed by South Africa and Swaziland and it highlighted the need to have a discussion on the role of trade in the conservation of the species. During the side event presentations were made to elicit discussions relating to this important topic.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is currently leading the development of the UNEP-GEF project ‘Strengthening Law Enforcement Capabilities to Combat Wildlife Crime for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Species in South Africa (target: Rhinoceros)’. The main aim of the GEF project is to improve the forensic and intelligence/information sharing capabilities of relevant groups to better control the recent upsurge in poaching of rhinoceros in South Africa’s protected area network, especially Kruger National Park. South Africa shared the information relating to the project with the CITES Parties and NGO community.
South Africa participated in the CITES and Livelihoods side event that reflected on the role international trade plays in terms of livelihoods of communities and the challenges and opportunities that it presents. The case study of the Tyhefu Traditional Council Aloe Project was presented by a community member of the project itself, Mr Mangwanandile Witness Mjoli.
Please read below the key components for your interest;
One must not yet look at everything in all doom and gloom, the facts have been clearly stipulated and proven above, we must now all work as an international TEAM to combat illegal poaching, reduce demand, and protect our species of which transnational law enforcement forces are now undertaking. We must also remember that the Rhinoceros horn trade HAS NOT been lifted and the Rhinoceros is still listed as near threatened and not vulnerable.
Focusing on these key important areas thus using every piece of technology, equipment, funding, team work and more must NOW be seen as critically important for the next meeting at CoP 17 to be held in South Africa.
Thank you for reading
International Animal Rescue Foundation
Youth Ambassadors China, Amazonia, America, Malaysia
http://www.grida.no/publications/rr/elephants/ (THE CRISIS CAN BE ADDRESSED)
There are 500,000 African Elephants left in the wild – Please download the most comprehensive and up to date research. Please watch the video above as it’s most important. There is also a 40Mb Pdf FILE that you can download. ELEPHANT range is now second to POACHING – Agriculture, supplying markets outside of Africa, land conversions from which South Africa ha now ceased all migrants from purchasing land so South Africa has known of this problem for some time. Habitual loss and human over population are KILLING the Elephants too. This now MUST be seen as MOST important that need’s tackling.. 60% decline is very worrying
RRAivory_draft7 Download Elephants in the Dust
25,000 left in the wild however hunting is declining in this with increased crime efforts to combat illegal trade and wildlife trade in vulnerable species.