Tag Archives: Thailand

Thailand faces trade ban over ivory failings

By Jonathan FowlerJuly 11, 2014 3:03 PM

Thailand faces an international wildlife trade ban unless it reins in its ivory sector, which is a magnet for traffickers, global regulator CITES said on Friday.

“There have been years without any real action on the ground when it comes to controlling the illegal ivory market,” said Oeystein Stoerkersen, chairman of CITES’s governing body.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has set Thailand an August 2015 deadline to fall into line or risk wide-ranging sanctions.

Bangkok is under additional pressure to report back by January on steps to bolster recent laws on registering ivory importers, traders and legal stockpiles, that CITES claims are insufficient.

“Without that, Thailand will face a ban, and a suspension of all trade no matter what commodity it is, of the 35,000 species listed with CITES,” he told reporters.

A ban would prevent the country trading anything appearing on that list with another country, including orchids and exotic wood, which are significant export products for Thailand.

“I think that is a strong signal,” said Stoerkersen, adding that Thai diplomats at the talks had acknowledged that their country needed to do more.

But environmental campaigner WWF said the body should have hit Thailand harder, given that Bangkok pledged last year to smash the illegal trade but the quantities of ivory on sale rose sharply.

“A suspension of trade in all CITES goods from Thailand would have been justified,” said WWF analyst Colman O’Criodain.

Current Thai law allows ivory from domesticated Thai elephants to be sold, making it simple to launder poached African ivory, WWF said.

“Thailand’s market is fuelling the illegal assault on African elephants,” said O’Criodain.

The decision on Thailand came as delegates wrapped up a week-long CITES conference on trade in endangered species.

Earlier this week, CITES chief John Scanlon told AFP that elephants would be wiped out in some parts of Africa unless more countries got involved in efforts to prevent poaching and smuggling.

Over the past three years, more than 60,000 African elephants have been killed, far outstripping their birth rate.

Crime syndicates and militias in Africa have become increasingly involved in the multi-billion-dollar illicit trade, taking advantage of Asian demand for ivory to use in decorations and traditional medicines.

- ‘Next generation will not forgive us’ -

Stoerkersen said Thailand had become a “sink” for African ivory, sucking in imports bought by foreigners for export to other Asian countries.

“It’s more or less an unregulated market,” he said.

Along with China, Thailand is part of the “Gang of Eight” countries that have faced scrutiny over the ivory trade, but it is now seen as the key offender.

Speaking at the conference in Geneva, William Kiprono, who leads Kenya’s Wildlife Service, said his country is cracking down hard on poachers and illegal ivory traders.

He said that the country is currently recruiting hundreds more wildlife rangers, but said more action was also needed from consumers.

“In some places, they think that ivory just falls out of an animal just like feathers,” he said.

“We need to work together. If we don’t act, we are going to lose our wildlife, as Kenya, as Africa and the globe. And the next generation will not forgive us,” he said.

During the conference, CITES also banned trade in the emperor scorpion from Ghana due to unsustainable harvesting, and raised concerns about the illegal trade in cheetahs and snakes, as well as illegal logging.

This article can be found in the following link: http://news.yahoo.com/thailand-faces-trade-ban-over-ivory-failings-171518386.html;_ylt=AwrTWfyyQsNTwAkAhQjQtDMD

 

The elephant emergency: Summit to be held in Botswana

Katie de Klee, Daily Maverick

18 Nov 2013

The African elephant is the world’s biggest land mammal; walking the earth at a dignified pace, the elephant has earned its place in the folklore and legend of many cultures. But this impressive creature is being slaughtered at alarming rate for its ivory: it is estimated one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Check the time now; mark the moment the next grey giant falls. An emergency summit addressing the problems of the illegal ivory is to be held in Gaborone, Botswana at the beginning of December.

———-

President Ian Khama of Botswana will open the summit, and Heads of State and representatives of African elephant range countries will be in attendance, along with high-level representatives from transit and destination countries.

The summit will aim to address the following topics: penalties for ivory trading, law enforcement, population monitoring and public awareness.

A study conducted by the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) found that there were radical differences in the legislation and penalties surrounding poaching in African countries. Punishment must be seen to outweigh the potential financial rewards of the illegal ivory trade, acknowledging the severity of the crime and acting as a real deterrent. Maximum and equivalent penalties should apply in all countries.

National task forces should be formed and an increase in law enforcement and wildlife rangers should be facilitated. Ivory poachers are now often part of organised, armed networks, better equipped and connected than the rangers trying to stop them. More worryingly, the money from the poaching is increasingly often going towards armed rebellions and terrorism. The recent attack on the Nairobi mall by terrorist group al-Shabaab was partly funded by the illegal ivory trade.

The threat to national and international security would also be addressed by better intelligence sharing amongst States, another issue that will be given some time for discussion in Gaborone.

The IUCN will also propose that there needs to be better elephant population monitoring at national levels, and more effort should be put into raising public awareness.

Although the summit calls for global action, eight countries have been identified as being central to recent surges in elephant poaching. These countries are source countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, transit countries Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and destination countries Thailand and China. These countries are known as the ‘gang of eight’.

If satisfactory action is not taken by these eight countries to halt the trade of illegal ivory, the IUCN is suggesting heavy trade sanctions on all wildlife products – including the lucrative orchid and crocodile skin industries. Tourism is one of the biggest industries in many African nations, and the heads of these states must be shown that the greatest economic value comes from the living beast, and not from its by-products.

At the beginning of the last century there were 10 million African elephants on earth. Now there may be as few as 400,000. According to IUCN, the number of elephants killed has doubled in the last decade. Southern Africa is their stronghold, but at the rate they’re being killed, in 50 years’ time there won’t be one wild elephant left. That would be an unforgivable indictment on our species.

Poachers risk Sh5m fine, 15 years jail in plans to protect elephants

POLITICS AND POLICY

Poachers risk Sh5m fine, 15 years jail in plans to protect elephants

Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni (left) with Wildlife Direct chairman John Hemingway at the Press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday. Photo/Phoebe Okall

Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni (left) with Wildlife Direct chairman John Hemingway at the Press conference in Nairobi on Wednesday. Photo/Phoebe Okall

By WANGUI MAINAPosted  Wednesday, July 24  2013 at  20:42

IN SUMMARY

  • Environment, Water and Natural Resources secretary Judi Wakhungu said poachers would be sent to jail for 15 years and fined Sh5 million.
  • Killing of animals for their trophies has in the past three years seen Kenya lose about 1000 elephants.
  • Currently, poachers incur a fine not exceeding Sh40,000 or a prison term not exceeding ten years, or both.
 Poachers have been put on notice by stiffer penalties proposed in the Wildlife Bill, which is set for introduction in the National Assembly.

Environment, Water and Natural Resources secretary Judi Wakhungu said poachers would be sent to jail for 15 years and fined Sh5 million for illegal killing of wildlife, which will be an economic crime once the Bill is enacted.

“The government has directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, the penalties and sentences will be punitive in order to discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” she said.

Killing of animals for their trophies has in the past three years seen Kenya lose about 1000 elephants.

Currently, poachers incur a fine not exceeding Sh40,000 or a prison term not exceeding ten years, or both.

Ms Wakhungu was speaking on Wednesday during the launch of a new anti-poaching campaign dubbed “Hands off our Elephants”, which is fronted by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

It has been put together by conservation group Wildlife Direct in partnership with companies such as Kenya Airways and advertising company TBWA.

The launch of the campaign coincided with former US defence attaché in Nairobi David McNevin being convicted of being in possession of ivory products worth thousands of shillings.

Mr McNevin was arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) early this month as he boarded a flight to the Netherlands.

He was in possession of five ivory bangles, seven ivory finger rings, seven ivory pendants and two pieces of worked ivory weighing a total 800 grammes. He was arraigned in court on July 2 where he pleaded guilty and paid a fine of Sh40,000.

During President Barack Obama’s visit to Africa this month, the US pledged $10 million (Sh870 million) to combat ivory trade in Tanzania.

Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010. This year, Kenya has lost 172 elephants and 32 rhinos as increased demand for ivory driven by China prompts criminals.

Kenya has the fourth largest elephant population at about 38,000 and is one of the ‘gang of eight’ countries identified by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) where poaching is rampant.

In March, Cites ordered Kenya to set clear targets for reducing the poaching and the trade in ivory.

The other countries listed for poaching are Tanzania and Uganda while China and Thailand are listed as major consumers. Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, are listed as major transit countries for ivory.

The recent seizure of ivory in different exit points of the country is a sign of efficiency by the country’s law enforcement team, according to KWS. Kenya has been identified as a major transit point of ivory to Asia, where there is high demand.

To curb the movement of ivory the government is looking to deploy modern technology and sniffer dogs from the KWS canine unit, in all major entry and exit points including Eldoret airport.

This article comes from the following link: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Poachers-risk-Sh5m-fine-and-15-years-jail/-/539546/1925696/-/ho970k/-/index.html

 

 

 

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

PRESS RELEASE

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

NAIROBI JULY 24, 2013 – Kenya Airways has joined the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign that aims at ending elephants poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world.

The campaign, which is spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, has been put together by WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation charity, to create awareness, engagement and mobilization on the issue within Kenya, across Africa and around the world

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that conservation of elephants and other wildlife, is the responsibility of all Kenyan individuals, companies and government agencies.

“Elephants are part of our environment; therefore poaching them harms our country and national heritage. Mother Nature is very unforgiving when we change the balance in the environment. This is the reason we decided to get involved. As Kenya Airways, we do not condone poaching or delivery of poached ivory on our flights, and this message has been passed to our staff and passengers. Any of our staff found involved or abetting poaching will face the consequences,” Dr Naikuni added during a press briefing held in Nairobi.

Speaking during the briefing, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu, said that the government is stepping up anti-poaching efforts by deploying modern technology and modernization of the Kenya Wildlife Service; in addition to establishing a Canine Unit to detect movements of illegal ivory at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airports in Mombasa.

“The government has also directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes, and revised penalties to higher fines of over Ksh1 million and sentences of over 5 years. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, these penalties and sentences will be enhanced to make them punitive and discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” Prof Wakhungu added.

The director general of the Vision 2030 delivery board, Mugo Kibati, said that elephants are a major factor in the success of the tourism industry, which is one of the major sectors in the economic pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“In our Medium Term Plan, we have set out to grow tourist numbers from the current 2 million to 3 million by the year 2017. However, this will not happen if our elephants disappear,” Mr Kibati told the press briefing.

In recent days, there has been a surge in cases of poaching, posing a threat to elephants. According to statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service, elephant poaching has grown consistently over the last three during which 829 elephants were killed. Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010.

In addition to this, the country has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. KWS estimates that more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009.

The demand for ivory in the Far East, particularly China, has attracted criminal cartels to Kenya, who are feeding the insatiable demand. Conservationists warn that unless the demand is extinguished, poachers will wipe out Africa’s elephants.

The CEO of Wildlife Direct, Dr Paula Kahumbu, lauded the government for welcoming the initiative which brings Kenyans together to save the country’s heritage.

“Kenya traditionally has been at the frontline in combating elephant poaching but we have lost that ground in recent years. It is essential that we work together and restore our leadership position in the world to ensuring that we protect our endangered species, and a global heritage. While we crack down on wildlife crime in Kenya, we also need the help of governments of Africa, Thailand, China and US whom we are asking to ban the domestic markets of ivory as legal markets are a cover for laundering illegal ivory. We will also appeal to the hearts of anyone buying ivory in these countries as they are contributing to the slaughter of African elephants,” Dr Kahumbu added.

In February, Kenya Airways signed a deal with Born Free Foundation, an international charity, to contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and conservation of wildlife conservation in Africa, and partner to raise funds for such initiatives.

Campaign to save Kenya’s Elephants

http://http://www.coastweek.com/3630-latest-news-margaret-kenyatta-campaigns-to-save-elephants.htm

Kenya’s Elephants may be extinct in 10 years

http://http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-29/kenya-elephants-may-face-extinction-by-2023-if-poaching-persists.html

 

2 suspected poachers are arrested in Nairobi as First Lady launches “Hands Off Our Elephants” campaign

http://http://www.citizennews.co.ke/news/2012/local/item/12448-2-poachers-arrested-as-first-lady-launches-anti-poaching-campaign

Hands Off Our Elephants, says Kenya’s First Lady

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launches anti-poaching campaign dubbed “Hands Off Our Elephants”http://http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2013/07/hands-off-our-elephants-says-first-lady/

Thailand seizes 1.4 tons of ivory at airport

via Melissa Groo – Save The Elephants

Thailand seizes 1.4 tons of ivory at airport on tip-off from Qatar

Associated Press
April 21, 2010

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Thailand has seized 1.4 tons of elephant tusks, worth more than $2 million, hidden in crates labeled as computer printers, officials said Wednesday.

Thai Customs officials confiscated the 296 tusks Saturday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, acting on a tip from authorities in Qatar where the ivory was shipped from, said Kornsiri Pinnarat, deputy director-general of the Customs Department… read more.