Shwedagon, WWF team up to tackle illegal wildlife trade
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.