Category: Illegal wildlife trade

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15 Feb 2018

USAID Unveils Field Guide to Combat Pangolin Trafficking  0

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Developed by the USAID Wildlife Asia project, the Pangolin Species Identification Guide: A Rapid Assessment Tool for Field and Desk will make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify pangolins and pangolin parts — such as scales and skins — they may encounter in the field.

BANGKOK, February 16, 2018 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is marking World Pangolin Day on February 17 by unveiling a new guide to help law enforcement officers identify species and origins of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, in a bid to curb the illegal trade in wildlife.

Developed by the USAID Wildlife Asia project, the Pangolin Species Identification Guide: A Rapid Assessment Tool for Field and Desk will make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify pangolins and pangolin parts — such as scales and skins — they may encounter in the field. The guide provides species identification characteristics and range maps, allowing officers to identify pangolins and their likely country of origin.

“This guide will be a great benefit for frontline law enforcement officers who work at entry ports, such as international airports, seaports and land border crossings, to effectively enforce any laws relating to pangolins,” said Pinsak Suraswadi, Deputy Director General of Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

In 2017, authorities seized 32 tons of pangolin scales and 563 live pangolins in Southeast Asia and China. According to recent research published in Conservation Letters, up to 2.7 million pangolins are being killed every year in Central Africa alone. In many cases seized pangolins are not identified properly, making it difficult to know the original source of the trafficked individuals.

“We have to act now to protect pangolins, as they are at high risk of extinction,” said acting USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia Director Richard Goughnour. “This guide is one important contribution to better equip law enforcement officers to succeed in fighting this crime.”

USAID Wildlife Asia gave a preview of the guide at the November 2017 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee meeting in Geneva. “The CITES Secretariat has already made the guide available on the CITES Virtual College, the World Customs Organization Environet platform, and more widely distributed it among the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime partner organizations, to make it available as widely as possible to officers responsible for wildlife law enforcement in the front lines,” said CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon.

USAID Wildlife Asia will further support pangolin identification with plans to roll out in late 2018 an interactive smartphone application to aid law enforcement and customs officials in the identification of pangolins and pangolin products.

USAID Wildlife Asia and the DNP will use the new guide at Thailand’s first-ever pangolin husbandry workshop to train customs and relevant law enforcement authorities to improve survival and release rates of live pangolins confiscated in the illegal wildlife trade.

All eight species of pangolin, four in Asia and four in Africa, are illegal to trade and are listed in CITES Appendix I, the highest level of international protection. Thailand is home to two pangolin species, the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). The primary destinations for pangolin scales and meat are China and to a lesser extent, Vietnam. Criminals frequently use Thailand as a transit point in the illegal pangolin trade.

The Pangolin Species Identification Guide is available on www.usaidwildlifeasia.org in English and Thai and will also be translated in Indonesian, Malaysian, Mandarin and Vietnamese. Mobile application is available at Play Store (https://goo.gl/NGpkzJ) and App Store (https://goo.gl/T9UVMQ)

About USAID Wildlife Asia

The USAID Wildlife Asia Activity works to address wildlife trafficking as a transnational crime. The project aims to reduce consumer demand for wildlife parts and products, strengthen law enforcement, enhance legal and political commitment, and support regional collaboration to reduce wildlife crime in Southeast Asia, particularly: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and China. Species focus of USAID Wildlife Asia include elephant, rhinoceros, tiger and pangolin. For more information, please visit www.usaidwildlifeasia.org


10 Aug 2016

‘State of the Pangolin’ Podcast  0

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Have a listen to what Dr. Chris Shepherd, Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia and Lisa Hywood, founder of Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe, have to say about the State of the Pangolin.
Have a listen to what Dr. Chris Shepherd, Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, and Lisa Hywood, founder of Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe, have to say about the State of the Pangolin.

State of the Pangolin: Tune into Episode 42 of the Behind the Schemes podcast for an exclusive interview with Dr. Chris Shepherd and Lisa Hywood.

2016 has so far been another deadly year for pangolins, but there is hope: Coming up in September, at the 17th meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a total of four proposals covering the transfer of all eight pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I will be considered. The United States is co-sponsoring the pangolin proposals along with five key pangolin range countries: India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nigeria and Senegal.

Have a listen to what Dr. Chris Shepherd, Regional Director, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, and Lisa Hywood, founder of Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe, have to say about the State of the Pangolin.


15 Aug 2014

All 8 Pangolin Species Threatened with Extinction; 2 Species Now ‘Critically Endangered’  0

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All four African pangolin species -- the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) -- have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
All four African pangolin species — the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) — have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

All eight pangolin species are now considered threatened with extinction, according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ™.

Two of the four Asian species, the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), are now listed as Critically Endangered. The Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) and Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) have been moved from Near Threatened to Endangered.

All four African pangolin species — the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) — have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable.

All pangolin populations are decreasing.

Pangolins bear the unfortunate distinction of “most illegally traded mammal in the world”, due to the massive demand from China, as well as Vietnam. Pangolin meat (including fetuses) is eaten as a delicacy. Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the scales are simply comprised of keratin — the same as our fingernails — and there are no proven health benefits of consuming pangolin scales.

The plundering of this species is inexcusable, says Professor Jonathan Baillie, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and Conservation Programmes Director at ZSL.

“In the 21st Century we really should not be eating species to extinction — there is simply no excuse for allowing this illegal trade to continue.”

This recognition from the IUCN is the latest positive development for pangolins in 2014.

  • Pangolins received unprecedented media coverage this year, thanks to CNN’s John Sutter taking up the plight of this endearing mammal in “The most trafficked mammal you’ve never heard of“, part of CNN’s Change the List project.
  • In June 2014, the Species Survival Network, an international coalition of over 100 NGOs, launched a Pangolin Working Group to address legal and illegal trade in pangolins, and to ensure that wild populations are protected and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced. The Group is working towards the uplisting of all eight pangolin species to CITES Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade.
  • At the 65th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee held in July 2014, an intercessional working group on pangolins was established following interventions by countries and NGOs. The Working Group is Chaired by the European Union and comprised of source, transit and destination countries — and NGOs. It met for the first time on July 10, and adopted a mandate calling for robust reporting requirements on pangolin trade and conservation.

(This post was originally published on Annamiticus.)


17 Jul 2014

Progress for Pangolins at CITES Meeting in Geneva  0

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Pangolins received much-needed attention at the 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, held July 7-11 in Geneva. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
Pangolins received much-needed attention at the 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, held July 7-11 in Geneva. PHJOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

The 65th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee held in Geneva yielded positive results for pangolins with the establishment of an intercessional working group on pangolins, which adopted a mandate calling for robust reporting requirements on pangolin trade and conservation.

On Wednesday, July 9, multiple interventions were made on behalf on pangolins regarding SC65 Doc. 27.1 Enforcement Matters.

Several pangolin range states, including India, Indonesia, mainland China and Hong Kong, expressed their concerns regarding the trafficking menace facing this species … full article at ANNAMITICUS.


02 Jul 2014

Species Survival Network Launches Pangolin Working Group  0

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The Pangolin Working Group will address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
The Pangolin Working Group will address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced.
PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

WASHINGTON, DC – The Species Survival Network (SSN), an international coalition of over 100 NGOs, has established a Pangolin Working Group to address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced.

The Working Group has committed itself to ensuring that these enigmatic species are not traded into extinction and will press for the promotion, enhancement and strict enforcement of applicable national and international regulations protecting pangolins, including the commitments made by 180 of the world’s governments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Group will also work towards the uplisting of all eight pangolin species to CITES Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade … full article at ANNAMITICUS.


03 Jan 2014

Pangolin Trafficking: Over 8,000 Pangolins Seized in 2013  0

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Pangolin Trafficking: Over 8,000 Pangolins Seized in 2013 (via Annamiticus)

2013 was another deadly year for pangolins, with an estimated 8,125 of these shy creatures confiscated in 49 instances of illegal trade across 13 countries. Because seizures represent just 10 to 20 percent of the actual illegal trade volume, this strongly…

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04 Dec 2013

47 Pangolins Rescued in Myanmar  0

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47 Pangolins, 100 Critically Endangered Turtles Rescued in Myanmar (via Annamiticus)

Encouraging news from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN): 47 pangolins and 100 Arakan Forest Turtles confiscated by police in Myanmar have been rescued. The pangolins have been released into the wild…

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28 Nov 2013

122 Live Pangolins Seized in Thailand, One in Zimbabwe  0

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122 Live Pangolins Seized in Thailand, One in Zimbabwe (via Annamiticus)

Thai customs officials intercepted the smuggling of 122 live pangolins, which were stowed away in sacks inside an SUV, and believed to be headed for China. It is thought that the pangolins were captured in Indonesia and/or Malaysia. The incident occurred…

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09 Nov 2013

Pangolin Scales Seized in Hong Kong, 2 Arrested [Photos]  0

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Pangolin Scales Seized in Hong Kong, 2 Arrested [Photos] (via Annamiticus)

Hong Kong Customs foiled a pangolin smuggling operation on October 30, 2013, when a “suspicious” fishing vessel was observed leaving the port of Tap Shek Kok. Officers gave chase and intercepted the vessel near the island of Sha Chau. In addition…

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26 Oct 2013

Indonesia: Pangolin Smugglers Doing Their Dirty Work [Photos]  0

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Indonesia: Pangolin Smugglers Doing Their Dirty Work [Photos] (via Annamiticus)

A series of disturbing photos taken on October 21, 2013, shows pangolin traffickers operating at the Denpasar Bird Market (pasar burung) in Bali, Indonesia. This incident was reported to Annamiticus by a concerned witness who photographed the pangolins…

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