It’s easy, publishing a blog on natural history museums and wildlife trafficking, to focus on instances where wildlife was hurt or treated unethically. Although the situation is all too common, for the first post of 2017, it’s worth paying attention to a selection of positive stories that will make difference to fight against wildlife crime.
Saving a shark. BioGraphic, published by the California Academy of Sciences, recently published a story about a brave fisherman in Cape Town risking life and limb to drag an endangered bronze whaler shark back into the ocean after it had been accidentally caught in his nets.
Using Tech to save wildlife. Share America is U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics. It recently published four stories that mean good news for wildlife, including the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, a competition in which innovators compete with initiatives that can significantly impact the fight against the illegal trafficking of terrestrial and marine wildlife.
More technology to aid wildlife. Wildlife journalism site Mongbay has reported that the National Whistleblower Center (NWC)’s new Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program is launching a secure website and attorney referral service to help people provide tips on wildlife crime and obtain rewards from whistleblower provisions in relevant laws. The program combats wildlife extinction by incentivizing potential whistleblowers to come forward and submit tips confidentially and anonymously. To increase the platform’s impact, the NWC is ramping up outreach and hoping to develop an app in 2017 to facilitate mobile reports.
China plans to ban ivory. China announced plans on December 30th 2016 to ban by the end of 2017 all ivory trade and processing in an attempt to curb the poaching of elephants in Africa. The governing State Council announced it would stop commercial ivory processing and sales, in batches, to end completely by Dec. 31, 2017. The decision, following a resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in South Africa in October, drew praise from conservation groups. Read more at this link. Prince William on Monday praised China’s decision. The Duke of Cambridge said the move could save elephants from extinction.
Pangolins received critically needed legislative help. At end of September last year, the discussion to ban trade in all eight species of Asian and African pangolins ranked high on the CITES agenda, alongside proposals related to better-known animals such as elephants and rhinos. Pangolins gained some recognition a few years ago when wildlife researchers pegged them as the most trafficked mammal on Earth, though they’re still largely unknown to the general public. Read more on the National Geographic website.
Winning the fight against poachers in Cambodia. Last week saw two large seizures of evidence of wildlife crimes, with authorities and activists in Battambang province and the Prey Lang forest taking 800 birds and 400 animal traps during raids. Kampong Thom environment department director Tob Kakada said that forestry crime in his province’s stretch of the large forest has fallen by 80 percent over the past six months, since 50 full-time department officials were stationed in the forest.
Three-hundred birds rescued in Bangladesh. Dhaka: The Wildlife Crime Control Unit of Bangladesh’s Forest Department has rescued about 300 birds of different rare and endangered species, officials said on Friday. Unit officials in collaboration with law enforcers rescued the birds in Savar on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, Ashim Mallick, a Wildlife Crime Control Unit official, told Xinhua. Acting on a tip-off, they raided a Savar area on Friday and rescued 304 birds including endangered rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), Vernal Hanging Parrot (Loriculus vernalis) and Tricoloured Munia (Lonchura malacca). He said the birds were emancipated later in the day at a botanical garden in Dhaka.
In 2017, the Wildlife Trafficking Working Group will move into the implementation phase of activity, following release of its white paper last year. As these stories demonstrate, the problem is huge and growing but we can, collectively, make a difference.