tagged w/ Animal Trafficking
PLEASE add your names to the "Animal Rights = Veganism" group and start contributing and commenting and helping make more and more humans aware of what's going on, and what each and every human can do to make life good and safe and happy for all sentient beings.
I see 62 "members" of the Veganism group, but only 13 in the Animal Rights = Veganism group. Of course, I hate groups and joining, and all that kind of stuff but, at the same time, since Current HAS groups, we need to make better use of them to speak our minds, share important information, ask for help, get petitions signed, and ever and ever so much more.
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Alleged UAE animal smuggler flees Thailand
By Andy Sambidge
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 9:46 PM
Photo: The baby sun bear found in a suitcase at Bangkok Airport. (Freeland Foundation)
A man from the UAE who was arrested as he attempted to smuggle suitcases filled of endangered baby animals out of Thailand has escaped from the country, it was reported on Tuesday.
Noor Mahmood was detained on May 13 by undercover officers at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport with the animals which included four leopard cubs, a Malayan sun bear, a baby marmoset and a baby red-cheeked gibbon, according to wildlife campaign group Freeland Foundation.
Mahmood was charged with smuggling endangered species out of the kingdom and released on a 200,000 baht ($6,600) bail, but he left Bangkok on a May 23 flight to the UAE, immigration police told news agency AFP.
Freeland called for Thai and UAE collaboration to continue with the case.
"Thai police did a great undercover operation to nab Mr Mahmood just as he was about to board his first class flight to Dubai," the group's director Steven Galster told AFP. "But since he was caught red handed and charged, we want to know why he is not being prosecuted?"
The case prompted animal welfare charities to urge the UAE to do more to clamp down on the illegal smuggling of endangered and exotic animals into the country.
“Not enough is being done to prevent this trade,” Galster told Arabian Business.
Ashley Fruno, a senior campaigner of PETA for Asia-Pacific, said tougher deterrents were needed to outweigh the easy money available to contraband traders.
Thailand is a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking, but authorities finding so many live mammals is unusual. Typical hauls are of rare tortoises, snakes and lizards.Alleged UAE animal smuggler flees Thailand
By Andy Sambidge
The New York Times
December 19, 2010
As Incomes Rise, So Does Animal Trade
By BETTINA WASSENER
HONG KONG — Four suitcases full of ivory, intercepted by customs at Suvarnabhumi International Airport near Bangkok. Rare tortoises, openly for sale at a fair in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. More than 2,000 frozen pangolins — scaly anteaters — seized from a fishing vessel off China.
Oh, and a 2-month-old tiger cub, alive but sedated, found inside a suitcase, also at the Bangkok airport.
If you think all of this sounds like old news — didn’t we see this in the 1970s and ’80s? — think again.
Every one of these incidents, documented by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, took place within the past few months. They provide just a glimpse of the massive trade in endangered animals — and their bones, skins and other organs — that is taking place across Asia.
And they illustrate that half a century’s worth of efforts by governments, international organizations and conservationists have failed to stem wildlife trade and the extinction of numerous animals and plants.
Yes, conservation projects have helped preserve individual species, but over all the trade in rare creatures has grown, not shrunk — thanks largely to rising demand from an increasingly affluent Asia.
“I’ve been doing this job for close to 20 years,” said Chris R. Shepherd, who helps oversee Traffic’s Southeast Asia operations, “and I can say it’s never been anywhere near as bad as it is now.”
In the 1970s, when international conservation efforts began to take off, the issue was one of largely niche demand from wealthy consumers in the West. Now, however, the picture has changed radically.
Rapid growth across developing Asia over the past decade or two has caused wealth to increase quickly across much of the region. Credit Suisse, in a recent study, estimated that parts of Asia, including China, India and Indonesia, have seen the average wealth per adult soar between 100 percent and 400 percent since 2000.
Along with many of its neighbors, China is now a giant consumer of items like machinery, cars, washing powder, clothes and — yes — python-skin handbags and tiger penises, bear bile and other ingredients for traditional medicines or meals that once belonged to the aristocracy.
“Over the past 20 years, the nature of the demand has changed, thanks to a rising middle class in Asia,” said Colman O’Criodain, a wildlife trade policy analyst in Switzerland for the environmental group W.W.F. International.
James Compton, senior program director for Asia at Traffic, said from Beijing, “Whether it’s high-end luxury stores or the man on the street corner selling dried sea horses — you can see animals and animal parts being sold quite openly. Wildlife trade is now quite pervasive in Asia.”
The problem, experts say, is often not a lack of top-level political will. Many Asian countries, like those elsewhere, ban the trade of rare plants and animals. Rather, the problem is enforcement on the ground and growing demand from populations that are often simply not fully aware of just how endangered the creatures they are consuming are.
Wildlife species with high commercial value have declined drastically, and many are now rare, endangered or even locally extinct, Traffic wrote in a report about Southeast Asia in late 2008.
Figures are hard to come by, as only select species can be closely monitored. But here are a couple of examples to illustrate the scale of some the population declines:
•Some species of sharks are thought to have declined 90 percent. Considered a status symbol in Chinese culture, the soup made from pricey shark fins is now within the reach of many, many more people than it once was.
• There are now thought to be as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild globally, down from 100,000 a century ago. Despite their acute rarity and international bans on tiger trade, officials throughout most of the tiger range countries, which span Russia and much of Asia, are intercepting the claws, skins or bones of about 100 tigers every year, a report published by Traffic last month found.
On the upside, attitudes are starting to change. Shark’s fin soup, for example, is becoming a decidedly uncool meal to serve in Hong Kong, the main hub for trade in the fins.
And in mainland China, where there was barely any coverage of animal welfare and related topics a decade ago, the media are now engaged, said Jill Robinson, founder of the Animals Asia Foundation, which campaigns for animal welfare and the conservation of endangered animals.
The sale of bear bile — often harvested from animals kept in tiny cages, and used in traditional medicine to cure ailments as varied as headaches and hemorrhoids — is legal in China, and demand is booming. But many doctors are starting to turn away from its use, not least because of a growing realization that bile from bears farmed in such conditions is often diseased, Ms. Robinson said.
Unfortunately, these efforts, commendable though they are, make only a small dent. Unlike in the West, where generations of children have grown up with nature programs, populations in Asia are not yet sensitized to issues like conservation, said Mr. O’Criodain of the W.W.F.
And while some countries have pretty advanced projects for preserving terrestrial species, “most consider the resources of the high seas — including overfished species of fish — as up for grabs,” he added.
Often, said Mr. Compton of Traffic, it is actually the rarity of the animal that makes it attractive to consumers, driving up its price.
For example, in Vietnam, where it is illegal to sell bear bile, a milliliter, or one-fifth of a teaspoon, of fresh, liquid bear bile can fetch as much as $30 on the black market, Animals Asia said.
Such prices mean fines and other penalties are an insufficient deterrent to often impoverished local populations.
“Wildlife crime is becoming more and more organized and sophisticated, and enforcement capacities are not managing to keep up,” said Mr. Shepherd of Traffic.
“The political will is changing; we’re seeing a lot of high-level commitments. But we need to see that translate into action on the ground. Otherwise, it will just be business as usual.”
For some species, even the welcome change in awareness may already simply be too little, too late.The New York Times
December 19, 2010
As Incomes Rise, So Does Animal Trade
Orphaned gorillas find a safe haven
From Jessica Ellis, CNN
December 17, 2010 5:19 a.m. EST
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (CNN) --
In a remote, rural area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has opened the country's first rehabilitation center for Grauer's gorillas.
Called GRACE (Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education), the center's goal is to teach orphaned gorillas how to survive in the wild as a new, self-sufficient "family," with the longer-term goal to release them into a natural habitat in a neighboring forest in the Congo Basin.
These young gorillas are physically and emotionally fragile, most having suffered from extremely traumatic conditions and experiences. Many have been violently taken from the forest by poachers, intent on selling them either as bush meat or for the animal trafficking trade.
CNN's Jessica Ellis and Ferre Dollar recently followed the first group of gorillas to be transported to the forested area from a temporary facility in Goma, in eastern DRC.
The pioneering young orphans were airlifted to GRACE by a helicopter donated by MONUC, the United Nations peacekeeping force in the DRC -- a first for a U.N. mission. Traveling by road would have been almost impossible due to poor infrastructure and potential trauma to the animals.
Mapendo, Amani, Kighoma and Ndjingala were all originally snatched from the forest and their families by poachers. They are all Grauer's gorillas, a subspecies related to the Mountain gorilla, but live exclusively in eastern DRC.
Sandy Jones is the confiscated gorilla rehabilitation manager for the Dian Fossey Fund and now the manager of GRACE. "All of the gorilla species are endangered because Congo is so unexplored they have not done a real census on how many Grauer's gorillas there are," she says.
"But at the rate at which we know they are being killed and the forest is being destroyed we are really concerned that if things aren't stopped and changed now they can be wiped out very soon."
This freshman class of GRACE gorillas range in age from between one and five years old. Mapendo, whose name means "love," was rescued in December 2007. She was confiscated along with a male gorilla but he only survived for two days.
When Amani -- which means "peace" -- was rescued a year ago she had a large wound on her leg. "It seemed obvious that her mother was shot and she was caught in the crossfire," Jones explains. "It took many weeks to heal but now she is walking perfectly normal."
Kighoma -- "drums" -- is the only male in the group. He arrived in May 2009, and Ndjingala was rescued earlier this year. She is only a year old and was named after the place from which she was taken.
"A lot of primates, when they are taken by poachers, they have ropes around their hips and it digs in and so they have bad wounds and Ndjingala suffered from that," Jones says.
The Dian Fossey gorilla fund and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project have been caring for rescued gorillas in temporary quarters in Kinigi, in Rwanda, and in Goma.
Now they (the gorillas) are in the real forest and they are climbing and getting some forest food, so they are happy.
"What I know is that many of them have died," says Dr. Eddie Kambale of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. "We may have, I can say, about 20% that have been taken from the forest."
The GRACE center is the first facility of its kind in east Central Africa. It has room for up to 30 young gorillas to live in species-typical groups and roam through 350 acres of natural habitat.
Kambale helped bring the four orphans from Goma to GRACE. "The gorillas are enjoying this place compared to where they were," he says.
"In Goma there was too much noise and dust from the road; here is less pollution so this will be good for their health. Now they are in the real forest and they are climbing and getting some forest food, so they are happy."
The remaining rescued Grauer's gorillas currently cared for by the Dian Fossey Fund and Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project will leave Kinigi on a second airlift scheduled for early next year.
"Having the gorillas here will help give the people a glimpse of the world of gorillas," says Debby Cox, of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance.
Cox worked with the local community to build the infrastructure for GRACE. "When the local people see gorillas as so much like us -- they live in families, the infants need their mothers, they hug each other -- you immediately get an empathy coming," she says.
"So we need to work with the people in this area, and that helps create stability and that creates confidence too."
While for decades the world has only heard bad news from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, conservation is striking an increasingly important chord of awareness among the people.Orphaned gorillas find a safe haven
From Jessica Ellis, CNN
December 17, 2010 5:19... more
November 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
Report: Woman detained after falcons found in luggage
The eight gyrfalcons were swaddled in pillow cases and other cloth when customs officials discovered them at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Customs officials seized eight rare falcons at the Moscow airport after a woman tried to smuggle the wrapped, boxed birds out of the country, the International Fund for Animal Welfare reported.
The gyrfalcons were found in two cartons being loaded into the hold of a plane bound for Damascus, Syria, on Sunday, the group said. The woman who checked the cartons as her luggage was detained and released pending a court appearance.
“At least 100 wild gyrfalcons are smuggled out of Russia each year, primarily driven by demand from the growing popularity of falconry in the Middle East,” said IFAW’s Russia director, Masha Vorontsova, in a statement.
The fast and powerful predator is the world's largest falcon. It breeds in arctic and subarctic regions and preys primarily on large birds, according to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology.
They can command as much as $50,000 on the black market. Officials believe the birds seized at Sheremetyevo International Airport were captured in Russia’s Far East and transported through two security checkpoints and a customs inspection before being detected.
The birds are expected to survive and will reside at IFAW’s raptor rehabilitation center until they are ready to be released into the wild, likely sometime next month.
The gyrfalcon is listed in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red Book of endangered species and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species’ Appendix I. The latter designation, says IFAW, makes any commercial trade involving the birds illegal.November 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
Report: Woman detained after falcons found in... more
Live tiger cub found in suitcase at Thai airport
By the CNN Wire Staff
August 27, 2010 12:36 p.m. EDT
This two-month old tiger cub was found stuffed in a woman's luggage at Bangkok's international airport.
* Authorities are trying to determine where the tiger came from
* Trade monitoring network says a baggage scan sparked airport workers' suspicions
* The tiger cub is two months old
Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- A live tiger cub hidden in a suitcase filled with stuffed toys was spotted as it went through a luggage X-ray at a major Thai airport, a wildlife trade monitoring network said.
Staff at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport contacted authorities after a baggage scan showed an item resembling a real cat in a passenger's over-sized bag, the non-profit organization TRAFFIC said Thursday.
Investigators found a sedated, two-month-old tiger cub when they opened the bag for inspection.
Officials are trying to determine where the cub came from and whether it was caught in the wild or bred in captivity, TRAFFIC said.
Authorities found the tiger Sunday in a suitcase belonging to a 31-year-old Thai national, who was scheduled to board a flight for Iran, the organization said.
Chris R. Shepherd, TRAFFIC's deputy regional director for Southeast Asia, praised authorities for discovering the smuggling attempt, but said the case showed a need for more monitoring and tougher punishments.
"If people are trying to smuggle live tigers in their check-in luggage, they obviously think wildlife smuggling is something easy to get away with and do not fear reprimand," Shepherd said. "Only sustained pressure on wildlife traffickers and serious penalties can change that."Live tiger cub found in suitcase at Thai airport
By the CNN Wire Staff
August 27,... more