Sh­wedagon, WWF team up to tackle illegal wildlife trade

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News - MYAT MOE AUNG my­at­moeaung@mm­ Photo: EPA

IN a joint ef­fort, the Sh­wedagon Pagoda Board of Trus­tees and the World Wide Fund for Na­ture (WWF) will work to­gether closely to pre­vent the sale of illegal wildlife parts in shops around the pagoda in Yangon.

On Tuesday, WWF Myan­mar an­nounced the new ini­tia­tive, which also in­cludes tack­ling the sale of ivory in the pagoda vicin­ity.

“Shop­keep­ers are obliged to com­ply,” said U Thaung Htike, a mem­ber of the Pagoda trus­tees.

Un­der the co­op­er­a­tion, shop­keep­ers, board mem­bers and pagoda staff will be briefed on ways to tackle wildlife illegal trad­ing.

“We need to ed­u­cate and pro­mote th­ese laws for pub­lic to know. Peo­ple will co­op­er­ate when they know more about the is­sue,” said U Thaung Htike.

Al­though trad­ing of ele­phant parts is pro­hib­ited un­der the Con­ser­va­tion of Wildlife and Nat­u­ral Ar­eas Law, it still ex­ists in some parts of Myan­mar.

Cur­rently, wild ele­phants top the illegal wildlife trade list and ex­perts say the coun­try is los­ing an ele­phant ev­ery week.

Ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment, ele­phant parts such as ivory, skin, teeth and tail are traded in shops in Yangon, Man­dalay and Kyaik­tiyo Pagoda.

“Co­op­er­a­tion of Sh­wedagon Pagoda’s Trustee group in pre­vent­ing sales of wildlife an­i­mal parts in the pagoda’s premise is the first step in an at­tempt to shape Yangon as the first city in South East Asia un­blem­ished of illegal wildlife trad­ing,” said Christy Wil­liams, Di­rec­tor of WWF Myan­mar.

The pro­gram is also a part of pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign called “In­ner voice for Mo Mos”, aimed at elim­i­nat­ing wildlife an­i­mal parts trad­ing, in­clud­ing ele­phant parts in Myan­mar.

Prod­ucts from rare species are dis­played for sale near Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also known as Golden Rock Pagoda, in 2012.

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