Govt agrees to crack down on wildlife trade in bor­der­lands

The Myanmar Times - - News - KYI KYI SWAY news­room@mm­times.com

MYAN­MAR was among more than 40 coun­tries that signed on to a dec­la­ra­tion last week in Viet­nam agree­ing to ramp up ef­forts to stem the il­le­gal wildlife trade.

Ini­tia­tives to that end will in­clude col­lec­tion of “mar­ket in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the il­le­gal wildlife trade along Man­dalay-Muse Road, the ma­jor wildlife traf­fick­ing route in Myan­mar, to un­der­stand the traf­fick­ing net­works”, and up­dates to con­ser­va­tion laws in­clud­ing in­creases in fines for vi­o­la­tors.

“It is a good start but we have a long way to go be­fore Myan­mar’s wildlife and nat­u­ral her­itage is safe,” said the World Wide Fund for Na­ture (WWF) Myan­mar’s wildlife trade man­ager, Kristina Ro­dia, in a state­ment on Novem­ber 21.

“The il­le­gal wildlife trade is ram­pant in the coun­try’s bor­der re­gions and is no longer con­fined to mar­ket stalls: Re­cent footage from Pangh­san [Pangh­sang/Pangkham town­ship, in Shan State] showed high-end stores trad­ing in huge quan­ti­ties of en­dan­gered species,” said Ms Ro­dia.

“WWF would like to work with the Myan­mar govern­ment and other key stake­hold­ers to close this and other il­le­gal trade bor­der mar­kets,” she added. The Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion will make erad­i­ca­tion of il­le­gal wildlife mar­kets a pri­or­ity in 2017 and 2018, according to the “Hanoi state­ment” re­leased fol­low­ing a con­fer­ence on the il­le­gal wildlife trade, which was held in the Viet­namese cap­i­tal on Novem­ber 17-18.

The United Kingdom’s Prince Wil­liam ad­dressed del­e­gates at the con­fer­ence, warn­ing that coun­tries were not moving fast enough to address the is­sue.

“De­spite grow­ing in­ter­na­tional mo­men­tum to tackle wildlife crime, the global poach­ing cri­sis and surge in il­le­gal wildlife trade show few signs of abat­ing – largely be­cause many coun­tries are not liv­ing up to their com­mit­ments,” WWF Myan­mar said on Novem­ber 21, adding that pan­golins are still be­ing traf­ficked out of South­east Asia “in vast num­bers”.

“Myan­mar is a crit­i­cal tran­sit coun­try and an il­le­gal wildlife trade hub,” said WWF Myan­mar con­ser­va­tion di­rec­tor Nick Cox, in an ear­lier state­ment on Novem­ber 16. “Il­le­gal trade of all forms is thriv­ing in the bor­der re­gion mar­kets. Tiger trade in Mong La town­ship alone has in­creased three­fold be­tween 2006 to 2014.”

Traders from Tachileik town­ship, on the Thai-Myan­mar bor­der, and Mine Lar/Mong La town­ship, on the China-Myan­mar bor­der, claim that tiger and leop­ard prod­ucts were pre­dom­i­nantly sourced do­mes­ti­cally from Myan­mar and neigh­bour­ing In­dia, said that re­lease.

“Strength­en­ing law en­force­ment and clos­ing the mar­kets as soon as pos­si­ble is es­sen­tial if Myan­mar is to keep its wildlife,” according to Mr Cox. A 33-year-old Pabe­dan town­ship man was killed af­ter crash­ing his car into the en­trance of the Kan­daw­gyi Aquar­ium on Novem­ber 21.

At 1:45am Ko Arr Mat was speed­ing in Min­galar Taung Nyunt town­ship whe he lost con­trol of the car, and crashed into an iron door and a tree at the en­trance of the aquar­ium. The car flipped over, killing Ko Arr Mat. About K1.6 mil­lion worth of dam­age was in­curred.

A 35-year-old man was killed by his brother-in-law in Min­gal­adon town­ship on Novem­ber 13 af­ter a fight over an ac­ci­dent that in­jured a goat, police said.

Ko Zaw Lin aka Ko Min Lay crashed into Ko Zaw Lwin Oo’s goat on a mo­tor­bike. At 8:30am Ko Zaw Lwin Oo then al­legedly struck Ko Min Lay in the head with a 32-inch sword and fled. Ko Min Lay died on the spot and his fa­ther re­ported the case to the police.

On Novem­ber 17, Ko Zaw Lwin Oo was ar­rested. and charged un­der sec­tion 302 of the pe­nal code for mur­der. – Toe Wai Aung, trans­la­tion by Khine Thazin Han and Emoon

Photo: Staff

A man holds up a great horn­bill at a wildlife mar­ket in Mong La.

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