Tag Archives: State Forestry administration

Agencies curtail ivory smuggling (China)

China Daily
January 30, 2015
Officers from the State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs destroy 6.1 tons of illegal ivory items in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in January last year. It was the first time China destroyed confiscated elephant ivory. Li Xin / Xinhua
China will continue its efforts to protect African elephants and curb the illegal ivory trade by cracking down on the black market.
“Combating the ivory trade and wildlife smuggling has always been a core task for China’s law enforcement agencies,” said Liu Dongsheng, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration, China’s wildlife watchdog. And they are making a difference, he said.
“The number of illegal wildlife smuggling cases in 2014 dropped 70 percent from 2013,” Liu said. Next, he said, “China will get tougher toward illicit tusks.”
At the same time, China has strengthened its supervision of Internet channels that are providing a fast, covert means of covering up illegal transactions.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, at least 18,590 animal-related items were for sale online in the country at the beginning of last year. Nearly 79 percent involved ivory.
The Forestry Administration has guided e-commerce platforms and logistics companies to cease providing the means for illegal trading in animal and plant products, including the means to advertise.
It also encouraged the public to decline, and also report, illegal ivory trade to the administration.
China has long been criticized as the world’s biggest importer of ivory and blamed as being responsible for most African elephant poaching.
A report released by the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants and The Aspinall Foundation in December said skyrocketing demand for ivory in China has led to a smuggling boom that is driving the unsustainable killing of elephants.
The report also said the growing legitimate ivory trade in China is providing a smoke screen for illegal activity. It said “the system is presently out of control”.
Meng Xianlin, executive director general of the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of China, said, “The truth is, the ivory market in China is shrinking, and China will gradually cut the number of licenses for retail outlets.
“The weight of authorized raw ivory in China every year is about 5 tons, but actually only 80 percent of that is made into ivory products,” he said. “And the sales numbers are dropping. The investigation found that the sales of illegal ivory products is way smaller than the legal sales.”
Meng also said consumption in China should not be blamed as being the major cause of the extinction of African elephants. Africa should step up to its own responsibility, he said.
John E. Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, agreed that it’s not just China’s responsibility. Other countries need to take responsibility for their own plants and animals and take measures to protect them, he said.
“We need support from source, transit and destination countries,” Scanlon said. “China has been dealing with it responsibly as a destination country, showing great leadership through customs and other enforcement departments.
“Source and transit countries should do the same, taking their responsibility seriously and doing what they can. We are in this together.”
Investors banking on continued increases in the price of ivory appear to be a significant factor in the recent boom, according to a report by Save the Elephants.
According to Gao Yufang, executive director of the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center, “Ivory products are perceived as a profitable investment alternative. An international ivory trade ban, inflation, depressed real estate and stock markets, growing disposable income, limited investment options and media hype have all contributed to this.”
CITES and China’s wildlife watchdog are planning to explore how the business sector can help to reduce demand.
“If speculation is, or appears likely to be, one of the key drivers of demand for illegally traded ivory, then intervention in this sector through a well-targeted campaign to end the speculation is warranted,” Scanlon said.



The original article in Chinese can be found in the following link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2014-01/06/c_118851657.htm


Journalists: Liu Yang Yang, Wang Xi, Han Qiao

On the 6th, the State Forestry Department and Customs Department held an event called: “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory In China”, where 6.1 tonnes of ivory were publicly crushed, making it the 1st time China  has publicly destroyed confiscated ivory. What is the significance of this activity? What improvements has China done when it comes to its fight against illegal ivory trade? Reporters interviewed Zhang Jian Long, the Deputy Director of State Forestry Administration


Question: For China to hold the “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory in China” event, what was its main consideration and what is the significance of this activity?


Answer: Protecting wildlife and taking care of the whole world has become a strong desire and common behavior for mankind, as it is related to the survival and development of human beings. However, due to various reasons, there exists an excessive and unsustainable practice worldwide of eating and smuggling wildlife, the phenomena operations of illegal wildlife products supply is serious, including smuggling of ivory trade among the endangered species which has become very rampant, which has threatened the survival of the African elephant and the sustainable development of other wild animals, resulting to having an impact on the global ecological security of significant risks.

In this regard, the world must take urgent action and make joint efforts so as to strengthen the protection of law enforcement in cracking down on illegal wildlife practices so as to fundamentally curb the illegal trade momentum.

China is a big responsible country and it attaches great importance and vigorously promotes wildlife conservation. This time, the State Forestry Administration and the Customs Department jointly held “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory In China” activity, publicly crushing 6.1 tonnes of ivory, which further goes ahead to demonstrate that the Chinese government firmly opposes and is cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade and is determined to raise public awareness to protect and strengthen the law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of law in duties at all levels, promote international coordination and cooperation of law enforcement, so as to protect wild animals together and seriously work on fighting the illegal trade of wildlife products as well as taking practical action to boost wildlife conservation globally. This activity to destroy ivory is of great importance to our country and the world of wildlife conservation as well, and will promote positive use

Question: What measures has China taken to combat illicit wildlife trade? How have the results been?

Answer: Combating illegal wildlife trade has always been the main agenda of China’s wildlife conservation work in which a variety of practical and effective measures have been taken. These measures are as follows:

  1. The Chinese law on illegal sale of ivory, purchase, transportation, smuggling of wild animal parts and products among other acts, made several severe punishment provisions; not only to confiscate the kind, illegal income, imposing of fines equivalent to 10 times the value of the product in possession of, but also punishable by up to life imprisonment.
  2.  China has established forestry, police, customs and other multi-sectoral composition of industrial and commercial wildlife conservation law enforcement systems and the inter-ministerial coordination system, and is constantly improving law enforcement tools so as to improve the quality of law enforcement officers and strengthen inspections in the markets, detection of cases and establishment of hotline reporting, timely analysis of the illegal wildlife trade dynamics, and conducting joint inspections and enforcement crackdowns.
  3. China has actively been promoting international cooperation in the illegal wildlife trade fight through pragmatic action, including: funding Southeast Asia, Africa and other countries to China to attend training relevant personnel to strengthen bilateral exchanges and law enforcement information exchange, and joint implementation of international co-led combat actions. In addition, China has also actively promoted and participated in CITES work and so on. Especially early last year in partnership with Asia, Africa and the Americas, 22 countries for the illegal wildlife trade activities across continents, China successfully carried out “Operation Cobra”, dispatched a large number of police, seized from smuggling cases and timely punishment of criminals who are arrested with a large number of endangered species and their products. The move led to the special recognition of CITES.
  4. China has long insisted on strengthening the conservation education. Arguments by experts, exposure to cases, special events, sending SMS and other forms, extensive public education to promote public awareness regarding conservation can be greatly improved.

Question: In the future, in what aspects will China improve its fight against illegal wildlife trade?

Answer: From the present situation, the excessive eating of wild animals and smuggling of wildlife products, illegal supply of wildlife products and other products is yet to be fundamentally curbed in China. In connection with the above description, the future will be handled through a series of measures to further increase crackdowns on the illegal wildlife trade.

On the one hand, we will further improve coordination between law enforcement mechanisms and strengthen comprehensive remediation. In effectively strengthening the distribution of wildlife rangers in the protected areas, while at the same time strengthening the restaurant, flower market and other business premise inspections and closely monitor by electronically tracking the sales network platforms of the wildlife products thus regulate the transporting of wildlife products and products. In the law enforcement inspection process, much focus had been put on tiger, leopard, elephant, rhino and other rare and endangered species and major cases of organized crime. Poaching of wild animals and their products on the illicit trade area or the more serious aspects, timely crackdown on the organizations, the momentum will firmly curb the rampant criminal activities.

On the other hand, improving the laws, regulations and management system, establishing long-term mechanisms to combat illegal wildlife trade. Strengthening conservation law enforcement responsibility and law enforcement agencies to promote the protection and management team building, improve the overall level of wildlife protection and law enforcement supervision, standardize the management of wild animal domestication, breeding and management and utilization activities, and maintain high pressure on the ivory smuggling and other illegal and criminal activities a situation.

At the same time, we will continue to strengthen the conservation education and public education through a variety of channels, in various forms, to encourage the public to consciously desist from buying wild animals and products and form a good prevention and treatment system.

Translated by Chris Kiarie




This original link for this article can be found in this link: http://www.chinanews.com/gn/2014/01-06/5698875.shtml

According to an article on China media, this afternoon, the State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs of China will hold a public destruction of confiscated ivory in  event in Guangzhou, China. It is reported that the amount of ivory that will be publicly destroyed is 6.1 tons. This is the first time China has publicly destroyed ivory, demonstrating the Chinese government firmly opposes and seriously maintains its position on illegal wildlife trade.

According to the State Forestry Demonstration, the event this afternoon, the ivory will be gathered in a neat area, after which it will be destroyed. The event will start at 1530hrs. Then, the staff will take the small ivory materials and products and feed them directly to the crushing machine. For the large tusks, they will first use the chainsaws to cut the ivory to smaller pieces, after which they will then sent to the mill. Due to the amount of ivory to be destroyed and the cutting of ivory into smaller parts before been put into the mill for crushing, the 2 ivory crushers will keep going for several hours to ensure that the ivory has been completely crushed. Another reporter also learned that, after the destruction of this ivory, some of which will be used for public education and public warning exhibition hall of the museum, the rest will be stored centrally.

All along, the ivory was been touted as an investment vehicle, been considered as “white gold” and as a result the prices were soaring all the way. According to insiders, before the year 1990, a kilogram of ivory did not exceed 1000 yuan (ksh.15,000), but now, in the black markets, a kilogram of ivory has risen up to between 20,000 and 30,000 yuan (Ksh. 300,000 and ksh.450,000). Over the last 20 years, the price of ivory has risen to over 30 times.

This time, all the ivory that will be destroyed was confiscated in the illegal ivory trade war, but taking into consideration the commercial value and the use value, online friends are asking: Direct destruction of ivory is a pity, ivory has many uses, why not take advantage of the national income to avoid a wastage of natural resources? Why did the Chinese government have to bear huge losses in an effort to destroy it?

Destruction of ivory is a huge loss for the government, so when a country takes such measures, it also indicates that the government will in the future end this trade. Keeping safe the ivory seized by the government is also a huge task. Huge profits will induce the criminals to take extraordinary actions . Many of the countries that have stockpiles have in the past experienced cases where ivory has been stolen from the stores. Thus the destruction of ivory can save on the manpower and resources to be used to reduce the possibility of induced crime.

In relation to today’s ivory crushing activity, the CITES Secretary General John Scanlon said “I hope that those involved in illegal activities will listen. If you continue to engage in the illegal ivory trade, then eventually will be seized and will face severe punishment. Investments made in the illegal trade will in future be rewarded in form of prison terms, heavy fines and confiscation of property. ”

According to calculations of mature elephants, the ivory grows up to between 1 and 2 meters in length. Therefore so as to get ivory of a total weight of 6 tonnes, it means that up to 40 elephants were brutally killed.

Recently, it was reported that there was a vicious massacre of elephants in Zimbabwe where more than 300 elephants were poisoned using cyanide. At that time, a picture that was taken from the air was startling: elephant carcasses lie all over the park, some of the pictures captured scenes of young elephants lying by the carcasses of their mothers. It is really painful.

The background of every elephant tusk in the illegal ivory trade is a story of bloodshed, and allowing the people to escape punishment for their selfish interests, even after their cruel actions is really cruel. Through investigations, IFAW found out that the international illegal ivory trade chain includes 4 links which are: consumers, poachers, smugglers and the markets. In order to completely destroy the illegal ivory trade chain and protect the elephants, many countries all around the world are taking part in the efforts to end these bloody killings. IFAW’s Asia Director believes that this action by the Chinese government will send a message to the world saying “We do not need Ivory.”

Ge Rui: “Many people who use ivory do not know that this ivory was acquired after an elephants was brutally murdered. Crushing the ivory sends to the whole world an important message: telling the poachers in Africa that the Chinese people do not need ivory. It is also a message to the smugglers, telling them that illegal ivory will in no way be allowed into China, thus to the consumer, the message is deep, that they should make informed decisions when making purchases, and choose the right decisions.”

A professor at the Beijing Normal University’s department of Science Studies Zhang Li, who has been involved in the research and protection of the Asian elephant, has in the recent past been calling for the destruction of ivory as a way of managing the confiscated ivory. He believes that from the action that has been taken by the Chinese government this time, it shows that the Chinese government is determined in fighting the illegal ivory trade on the one side, while on the other side; it can guarantee that these ivory products can’t make their way back into to the market.

Zhang Li: “Through this action to destroy the ivory in the stockpiles, it is an honest message and a sign to the world from the Chinese government showing its stand on the illegal ivory trade. I think that this is a very big sign by the Chinese government. Currently, going by the events in the last 2 years, the African elephants have met a very unfriendly environment where they have been under much attack. In the more than 30 African countries that are monitored by CITES, the data in the last 2 years, that is 2011 and 2012 indicate that the numbers of elephants that have been poached have been higher than the average rate of growth of the natural populations. The African elephant has an annual decrease rate of 2% of the entire population of elephants in Africa.”

The main reasons for this is the fact that because the benefits of the illegal ivory trade are profit driven, it has led to rampant poaching activities, so our country, after The Philippines and America, has taken up to destroy a large stock of confiscated ivory, which means that the Chinese government is determined in its fight against smuggled ivory. (Journalist: Han Xiu)

Article translated by Chris Kiarie.