DENR urged: Shield Romblon monkeys from trappers, lab experiments

By:  – Reporter / @JhessetEnanoINQ
 / 04:53 AM May 06, 2020

THEY BELONGTO THE FOREST Commonly known as “matsing” or “unggoy,” long-tailed macaques are a subspecies of the crab-eating macaques and are endemic to Philippine forests. —PHOTO FROM CRUELTY FREE INTERNATIONAL

MANILA, Philippines — Animal rights advocates have urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to refuse any permits seeking to trap wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis philippensis) in Romblon province for research and export purposes amid the reported population boom of these monkeys on the island.

The call came after reports that the DENR would consider applications for permits to capture the primates for breeding farms, which supply animals for laboratory experiments and testing.


Trapping wild primates is cruel and taking them from their habitats and social groups can cause immense suffering in animals, said the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Action for Primates.

“One of the reasons given by the DENR for considering an application for the capture of the wild monkeys is conflict arising between people and the monkeys,” the groups said in a joint statement on Monday.

“Conflict issues, however, are usually due to human activities, such as the destruction and fragmentation of the natural habitat, forcing primates to compete with people over land and resources,” they added.

Endemic, near-threatened

Commonly known as “matsing” or “unggoy,” long-tailed macaques are a subspecies of the crab-eating macaques and are endemic to Philippine forests.

They were classified as near-threatened in the most recent assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2008.

In an interview, Henry Adornado, DENR director of Mimaropa region, confirmed the rising number of macaques in Romblon but said the agency had yet to estimate their total population.

Among the reasons for their increasing numbers are the absence of natural predators, such as the Philippine Eagle, and people leaving them alone in the wild.

Relocation, education

With their growing numbers, the monkeys pose a threat to banana and coconut plantation of communities, Adornado said.

But Nedim Buyukmihci, an animal rights activist and representative of Action for Primates, said there were human approaches to population control to resolve conflicts without resorting to the capture and removal of wild macaques from their natural habitats.


These include reproduction control, relocation and educating communities so that monkeys would not be encouraged to rely on humans for food.

Protected area proposed

“At a time when there is increasing awareness of the devastating consequences that human activity is having on the natural world, including nonhuman primates, it is imperative that we learn to coexist with other species rather than just eliminate them when conflicts arise,” said Buyukmihci.

Instead of seeing these animals as nuisance, a protected area for macaques should be established in Romblon, said PAWS executive director Anna Cabrera.

“We can set things right by taking immediate steps to establish a protected area for macaques and to develop eco-friendly systems within human communities to allow them to live in harmony with wildlife,” she said.

Ricardo Calderon, director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau, said his office had yet to receive any applications for the capture and breeding of macaques in Romblon.

“Any application for permit will have to undergo site assessment and evaluation as part of the due diligence being required under existing rules and regulation,” Calderon told the Inquirer.


Breeding of wildlife for commercial purposes is allowed under the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act through the issuance of a wildlife farm-culture permit. Only offspring of those bred in captivity may be traded and exported.

Earlier reports cited the Philippines as among the world’s major exporters of laboratory monkeys. In 2015, however, macaque exports were suspended after an Ebola Reston virus killed 11 monkeys. This particular strain was nonfatal to humans.

In the late 1990s, these exports were similarly halted after a monkey shipped from a primate farm in Laguna province died in Texas, also of the Ebola virus. At least 49 other primates had to be put to death due to the virus. INQ

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Native groups object to prison sentence of Kaktovik man who shot and wasted polar bear

Chris Gordon, center, sits during a meeting about polar bear management in Kaktovik in June. He agreed to plead guilty Friday to a single count of shooting and killing a polar bear in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. (Nathaniel Herz / Alaska’s Energy Desk)

After a Kaktovik man was found guilty of killing and wasting a polar bear in a small North Slope village, several prominent Alaska Native organizations are calling the sentence “inappropriate.”

Kaktovik resident Chris Gordon shot and killed a polar bear outside his home in December 2018. The bear was drawn by whale meat that Gordon left out in his yard.

A Facebook post by Kaktovik resident Chris Gordon showing the dead polar bear that he shot outside his house, where it was trying to eat frozen bowhead whale meat. (Courtesy U.S. Attorney’s Office)

Related: Kaktovik is crawling with polar bears. Now a man is going to prison for wasting one.

As an Alaska Native from the region, the Marine Mammal Protection Act allows Gordon to kill polar bears as long as he harvests them. However, Gordon left the bear carcass untouched months until he eventually had it burned it at a village dump.

Late last month, Gordon was sentenced to three months in prison, and a $4,500 fine, for wasting the bear.

Now, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, as well as the Native Village of Kaktovik, are criticizing the sentencing. In a statement, the commission wrote that because Gordon is a hunter, sending him to prison and limiting his hunting is also “a punishment of his children, Elders, and other community members who rely on him for food.”

The commission says a punishment should’ve been handed down by “civil, locally-driven penalties within a cultural and traditional context.”

This isn’t the first time the commission has weighed in on the case against Gordon, a whaling captain who is a member of the commission, according to federal court documents. Those same documents say that when a Kaktovik local, identified as T.S., posted a video of the dead bear on Facebook and expressed concern, the AEWC attempted to “pressure” the woman to remove her post, saying it could do harm to whaling and subsistence rights.

12-year prison term not enough for wildlife traffickers

By: Jhesset O. Enano – Reporter / @JhessetEnanoINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:26 AM March 06, 2020

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is backing a House bill imposing stiffer penalties on wildlife crime.

In a position paper submitted to the House committee on natural resources this week and obtained by the Inquirer, the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) said wildlife trafficking had remained unabated and resulted in greater loss of the country’s
resources—20 years after the enactment in 2001 of Republic Act No. 9147, or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

It called for stiffer fines and penalties against such illegal acts as killing, trading, hunting or transporting wildlife, as well as the inclusion of specific circumstances that would mean the maximum penalty against offenders.

“Similar to drugs and illegal trafficking of persons, wildlife trafficking is now at the level of transnational crime,” Assistant Environment Secretary and BMB chief Ricardo Calderon said in an interview.

“We’ve seen that wildlife crime is very rampant and moves across boundaries … Hopefully the increase in pe­nalty will be a big deterrent, because now the penalties are very low, with some spanning for just six months to a year,” Calderon said.
12 years not enough

Among the provisions the DENR wants to include in House Bill No. 265, authored by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, are imprisonment of up to 20 years (reclusion temporal) for offenders who kill or destroy species listed as critically endangered and fines ranging from P200,000 to P2 million.

Under the present law, people committing the same crime face only up to
12 years in jail and fines ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.

Illegal traders of critically endangered animals can be jailed for four years and fined P50,000 to P600,000, under the proposed amendments.

This is in contrast to the current penalties, with jail time of only up to two years and fines ranging from P5,000 to P300,000.

Wildlife laundering—in which traders disguise the origin and ownership of illegally acquired wildlife by making it appear as though they came from legitimate sources—will also be punishable under the amended law.

Despite record seizures of smuggled wildlife in recent years valued at billions of pesos, prosecuting wildlife criminals remains a huge challenge for the government.

Traders go scot-free with lax penalties, overburdened courts and lack of knowledge among legal professionals, while repeat offenders easily skirt through the system.
Only 70 cases

An earlier Inquirer report showed that more than 26,700 wildlife were confiscated in at least 123 enforcement operations from 2013 to 2018.
But in that period, only 70 cases against wildlife criminals had been filed, with only 18 convictions.

Of the 228 identified offenders, only 30 had been penalized—and not all of them spent time in jail.

“Many continue to take risks because there is a market,” Calderon said.
“With the value of animals worth millions and with very low penalties, it’s really worth risking.”

Another reason for the government’s shortcomings in dealing with wildlife crime is the notion that these are small-time offenses, said Environment Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr.

“There is a common notion that these crimes do not have victims, so they consider it second-class crimes or offenses,” Adobo said. “In fact, the victims [in] these crimes are the wild animals themselves.”

In its paper, the DENR-BMB sought to include specific circumstances that would mean the maximum penalty against trafficking wildlife.

For instance, the number of specimens involved in violations should be considered since many confiscations involved several numbers of animals of different species and with different conditions during capture.
Maximum penalty

Under the bill, repeat offenders will be prosecuted with the maximum penalty—the same with those who commit crimes through inducing indigenous peoples.

The Asean Centre for Biodiversity had earlier reported that the Philippines loses P50 billion every year due to the illegal trade. The archipelago serves as a source, transit point and destination for trafficked animals.

Among the most trafficked animals were those seen only in the Philippines, such as the Philippine pangolin and Philippine pond turtle.
Both are classified as critically endangered.

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Coronavirus outbreak may spur Southeast Asian action on wildlife trafficking

by Imelda Abano on 4 March 2020

Illegal wildlife trafficking remains a perennial problem in Southeast Asia, but with the ongoing spread of the new coronavirus, there’s added impetus for governments in the region to clamp down on the illicit trade.
The coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, has infected more than 90,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,000, according to the World Health Organization.
Initial findings, though not conclusive, have linked the virus to pangolins, the most trafficked mammal on Earth and one of the mainstays of the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia that feeds the Chinese market.
Despite having a regional cooperation framework designed to curb wildlife trafficking, Southeast Asian governments have yet to agree on and finance a sustainability plan to strengthen efforts against the illegal trade.

MANILA — Governments across Southeast Asia have vowed to strengthen cooperation in curbing the illegal wildlife trade, suspected to have sparked the novel coronavirus epidemic. The issue will be at the top of the agenda at the Biodiversity Conference in Kuala Lumpur later this month.

“What needs to be enhanced is more collaboration to address wildlife trafficking at a multi-country or at the regional level,” said Theresa Mundita-Lim of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), an institute under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “The region is ready to step up efforts to curb illegal wildlife trade.”

As of March 3, there were 90,893 reported cases of the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, around the world, with 3,110 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Cases have been reported in 80 countries, but the majority are in China. The virus is believed to have originated from a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that sold exotic live mammals, including bats and civets — previously linked to the spread of a similar disease, SARS, in 2002.

In the less than three months since the first case was detected last December, the WHO has raised the epidemic’s global risk assessment to “very high.” Various countries have declared public health emergencies, imposed travel bans, and implemented strict quarantine stations in efforts to contain the virus. Disruptions to tourism, aviation, manufacturing and other economic activity are expected to throttle back global economic growth from a projected 2.9% this year to 2.4%, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

With China’s recent move to ban the wildlife trade and consumption, officials say it’s about time ASEAN unify against wildlife trafficking, especially as reports point to a sophisticated network of illegal wildlife trade routes from Southeast Asia to China’s wildlife markets.

As early as 2003, the region started exploring solutions to wildlife trafficking after Thailand admitted to being a wildlife trade hub, open source data fusion center Analytical Center of Excellence on Trafficking
(ACET) says in its latest report. With China entering the crackdown a decade later, Southeast Asia has seen an increase in reported cases, and thousands of seizures, arrests and prosecutions.
A sunda pangolin (Manis javanensis) is a species native to Southeast Asia. Image by Dan Challender/Save Vietnam’s Wildlife

This, however, has not been enough for the region to support a sustainability plan against wildlife trafficking, which involves each member state committing $15,000 a year. The stalemate is due in part to the bloc’s consensus voting rule. “As ASEAN is based on consensus, it only takes one out of ten members to veto a motion,” the report says.
“For nine years, Malaysia cast that vote of opposition. When Malaysia finally agreed to join the majority to support a sustainability plan, a new and surprising vote of opposition appeared: Thailand.”

But as the COVID-19 epidemic spreads, it might tip the scales and prompt ASEAN governments to support the sustainability plan and implement stringent policies to protect native species. This would also be in line with stronger measures that governments are expected to take after the lapse of the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, including the creation of heritage parks and protected areas.

“Actions on transboundary cooperation and promoting sustainable livelihoods in and around ASEAN heritage parks and natural habitats will help stop the reliance of local communities to poaching, overharvesting and illegal trading of wildlife and their by-products as means to earn income,” Mundita-Lim said.

Among the animals that need to be protected are the little-known pangolins, the most trafficked mammal in the world and which have been identified as a possible vector of the coronavirus. Recent studies have found high genomic similarities between the novel coronavirus and a virus found in pangolins, but these studies remain inconclusive. Being linked to the epidemic, however, increases the threats to these docile species as people might kill them en masse — similar to what happened to civets after the SARS outbreak, Nature reports.

Populations of these scaly mammals in the region have dwindled drastically due to heavy poaching activities in the past two decades, according to the international wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC.
A TRAFFIC report released last month estimated that around 895,000 pangolins were smuggled in Southeast Asia from 2000 to 2019.
Range of the four Asia pangolin species: the Chinese, Indian, Sunda and Philippine pangolins. A mix of colors within the maps indicates an overlap in the different species’ distributions. The species’ ranges are based on the IUCN Red List assessments (IUCN 2014). Note: The distribution maps are currently being updated by the IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group. Image courtesy of University of Adelaide/TRAFFIC.
Image courtesy of University of Adelaide/TRAFFIC

There are eight pangolin species in the world, four native to Africa and four to Asia. All the Asian species are declared critically endangered by the IUCN, including the two species native to Southeast Asia: the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis).

Populations of both the Sunda and the Philippine pangolins remain unknown but are assumed to be decreasing rapidly. In Palawan province, the only place where the Philippine pangolin occurs, only 17 individuals were spotted in a 2019 survey that covered 2,400 hectares (5,930 acres) of the 165,000-hectare (407,700-acre) Victoria-Anepahan mountain range in the town of Rizal. The survey, part of USAID’s Protect Wildlife project, noted the decline in pangolin sightings in the province.

“Pangolin poaching and trafficking continue as long as there is a demand from active buyers, both foreign and local,” the report says, adding that limited information on pangolins “hampers the ability of conservationists and local authorities to establish proper baselines for protecting the remaining pangolin strongholds in the wild.”

Reports of rampant trafficking prompted international wildlife trade regulator CITES to bump pangolins into the highest bracket of protection in 2016 by banning all international trade in the species. In spite of this, however, trafficking of pangolins and pangolin parts (scales, meat and blood) continue; the biggest and most recent seizure was of 9 tons of pangolin scales, taken from approximately 14,000 pangolins from Africa, and intercepted in Hong Kong in early 2019.

Prior to the ban, pangolins were openly shipped in the region, often smuggled alongside parts from tigers and hawksbill sea turtles, both threatened species. “Pangolins were sourced and openly shipped from Indonesia, with smaller loads gathered in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Philippines,” ACET’s latest report states. “Since prices in pangolins were modest, the volume of trade was also relatively low and seemingly sustainable.”

The trafficking ring in the region follows an intricate maze, ACET’s report says, with animals sourced from Indonesia and Malaysia transiting through Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam until it enters China.
“Live animals and body parts were sent to Yunnan and Guangdong by road, ship and eventually by air to Kunming, Guangzhou and Hong Kong,” the report says.
A pangolin, meaning the “one who rolls up” in Malay, balls up in its characteristic defensive posture. Image courtesy of Priyan Perera

The illicit trade has since been intertwined with that of illegal drugs and other contraband, making it challenging for security forces to crack down on shipments. Indonesian authorities described the region’s illegal wildlife trade as being as sophisticated as the drug trade, according to the Global Environmental Reporting Collective’s The Pangolin Reports.

In the Philippines, the Palawan Center for Sustainable Development
(PCSD) has identified a transnational route that starts at the port of Balabac in southern Palawan and heads north to the island of Mindoro and across to the port of Batangas before exiting the archipelago.

While crackdowns on illegal wildlife trafficking continue on a top-down model, groups on the ground have also initiated efforts to engage communities against poaching not just of pangolins but other trafficked mammals in the region.

“Communities can be front-liners in the fight against poaching of pangolins and wildlife by organizing community-based efforts to protect their forests, support enforcers on the ground, and advocate for and spread the word about the importance of protecting wildlife and their habitats,” said Rebecca Paz, chief of party for USAID’s Protect Wildlife project. “We also need to look into boosting opportunities for viable and sustainable livelihoods in these communities to dissuade them from engaging in illegal practices that are harming wildlife and other natural resources.”

Case of seized lion bones moving forward, NGO says

Niem Chheng | Publication date 03 March 2020 | 23:27 ICT Share Content image – Phnom Penh Post The lion bones seized in December are being examined. Wildlife alliance

Authorities on Monday opened packages of more than 280 lion bones seized in December at the Phnom Penh International Airport as the case progresses against the suspected owners who remain behind bars, said NGO Wildlife Alliance.

It said the shipment of 281kg of suspected lion bones smuggled from South Africa was opened on Monday while two Vietnamese suspects remained in jail. Cambodian Customs officials were investigating the case, it noted.

“Cambodia is a well-known transit country in the illegal wildlife trade for products heading to Vietnam and China. It is suspected that the lion bones were intended to be transported to Vietnam where they are popular in traditional medicines.

“Wildlife Alliance is pleased to once again be working with our colleagues in Customs in another major Africa-Asia wildlife trafficking case,” the NGO said.

Last December, joint forces from the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Counterfeit Products Committee, Customs officials, Camcontrol officials and a Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor seized the lion bones at the airport and arrested two Vietnamese nationals.

Court spokesman Kuch Kimlong, the Anti-Counterfeit Products Committee and Wildlife Alliance could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment warned souvenir vendors of trafficked goods made of exotic bones and wild animals that they would face legal action similar to those involved in money laundering and financing terrorism.

The notice came after 32 businesses in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk province were found to be selling souvenirs made from rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory.

In February, UK-based Traffic, an NGO working on anti-wildlife trade, released a report saying Cambodia had seized more than 17,000kg of ivory from 2009 to 2018, including a seizure of more than 3.2 tonnes of ivory in 2018 that came from Mozambique.

It said more than 780 ivory products were recorded in 10 shops in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in 2015, with hundreds more recorded in 2019. It said almost 25,000 live mammals, birds and reptiles were seized from 2007 to 2015.

The NGO said the challenges for Cambodia in combating wildlife crimes were low penalties for criminals which did not serve as deterrents, difficulty in effectively implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the country being a transit point for transnational organised crime groups en route to Vietnam or China.

Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund Asia Pacific offices on Tuesday applauded China for its decision to ban the trade of wild animals and end unregulated wildlife trade, linking the consumption of wildlife to the possible cause of Covid-19.

WWF regional director for Asia Pacific Christy Williams said in a press statement that Southeast Asian countries must learn from China’s example and ban the sales of wild meat for the health of their citizens and to prevent damage to their economies, as is happening currently due to Covid-19.

“This means that they must stop the trade from moving into their territories. As we saw in the case of the domestic ivory ban in China, the trade will just move across borders where enforcement is less robust, creating new trade hotspots,” Williams said.

Threat to Assam Rhinos as Fake Coronavirus Medicine Made from Rhino Horn Doing Rounds

Amid global alert over coronavirus, now a bigger threat looms large over the
rhino population of the world and especially of Assam.

Illegal wildlife traders are cashing in on fears over the coronavirus
outbreak by selling fake medicines containing rhino horn and other
endangered species parts, reports stated quoting an investigation.

Sellers in China and Laos are advertising a Chinese medicine product called
Angong Niuhuang Wan on WeChat, a messaging and social media app, according
to the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The ‘cure’ on offer – images of which were posted with adverts – appears to
have been produced in North Korea and, unlike the Chinese version, states
that the ingredients include rhino horn and musk, the EIA was quoted as

Rhinos are critically endangered after steady declines in the global
population since the start of the 20th century. Hundreds are killed each
year, nearly all poached for their horn for Asian markets.

Buyers wrongly believe it has medicinal value, although it is made of the
same material as human nails and hair.

Environmentalists back in north-eastern India fear this may have an adverse
effect on the rhino population in the national parks of Assam.

Kaziranga and the other national parks are home for the largest population
of the famed one-horned rhinos.

These are already vulnerable falling prey to poachers every year.

Now that such claims are doing the rounds, the risk of poaching rhinos in
these national parks of Assam, particularly Kaziranga have increased

Scientists say the pangolin endangered by Chinese smuggling may have passed the coronavirus to humans

Even small changes in China have global effects.

Before now news stories about pangolins, endangered ant-eating scaly mammals found in West and Central Africa and Asia, have focused on how China’s insatiable thirst for their meat and scales has led to a rapid decline in its global population.

The recent news linking the animal to China may change this trend as pangolins have been reported to have likely transmitted to humans the novel coronavirus that has caused the death of over 1,300 people in mainland China.

The pangolin was reported to be the most likely intermediate host from which humans contracted the novel coronavirus. The pangolin-vector claim was made public on Feb. 7 by researchers at South China Agricultural University who said they found the genome sequence of the coronavirus separated from pangolins to be 99% identical to that collected from infected people.

The team which did the research found the pangolin to be the most likely intermediate host after analyzing over 1,000 metagenome samples of wild animals. However, the study has not been published and so has not gone through the usual peer review for verification. The report is also inconclusive and at the moment is only viewed as a suggestion.

Though coronavirus researchers are waiting for the publication of the research before they can come to any significant conclusions, this is not the first time the pangolin has been reported as a possible source of human coronavirus infection. In October, before the coronavirus epidemic, Chinese researchers reported that a coronavirus was found in pangolins and that it may be capable of crossing over into other mammals.

Scientists had earlier suspected that the novel coronavirus originated from bats, similar to SARS-CoV, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and Ebola, among others. The research published also by Chinese researchers had found the novel coronavirus is 80% similar to SARS-CoV identified in 2003 (also in China), and like SARS-CoV is suspected to have originated from a bat.

This similarity also suggests novel coronavirus may have an intermediary host that transmitted the virus from bat to human. SARS-CoV is suspected to have spread from bats to civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from bat to camel to humans. Based on the XinhuaNet report the novel coronavirus is being suspected to have passed from bat to pangolin and then to humans, but as with the intermediary host, the origin of the new coronavirus is not yet fully understood.

The claim that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have passed to humans by a pangolin to many didn’t come as a surprise. China has been in the news as the major consumer of pangolin which is smuggled in mostly from Africa. The massive demand for pangolin in China and Vietnam, where the animal is consumed as meat and their scales used for traditional medicine, has led to the decimation of the animal in these countries.

Though trade in pangolin meat and scales has been banned internationally, domestic sales of medicines containing pangolin scales are still allowed in China. Many of the first people to become infected by the coronavirus worked at a seafood and wild-animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and the virus is thought to have first spread to humans there in December.

As China has become a global economic powerhouse over recent decades, Chinese demand for African mammals for medicines and other products has had a significant impact in countries which have lax conservation laws. In recent years, rhino and elephant populations have been devastated in southern Africa, driven in part by demand for their horns and tusks.

Donkey populations have also been hit as gelatin from donkey skins is used in the traditional Chinese medicine ejiao. At least four countries in Africa have barred sales of donkey products out of concern that demand from Asia will quickly outstrip local supply.

Conservationists shot at by poachers during Gulf of California patrol

The Sea Shepherd vessel Sharpie. The Sea Shepherd vessel Sharpie. SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY

The vessel was on a mission to protect the endangered vaquita marina porpoise

Four fishing skiffs known as pangas approached the M/V Sharpie and began to chase it at full speed just after 10:00 a.m., Sea Shepherd said in a statement.

At least two shots fired from the pangas landed in the water near the Sea Shepherd vessel but it was not hit. There were no injuries among the conservationists on board nor the officials from the navy, Federal Police and Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) who accompanied them.

The incident occurred in an area of the upper Gulf of California known as a “critical zone” because several vaquitas have been sighted there.

In response to the attack, the captain of the Sharpie carried out anti-piracy procedures, which included the use of water cannons.

The Sharpie activates water cannons as one of the attacking boats lies nearby.
The Sharpie activates water cannons as one of the attacking boats lies nearby. SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY

“This just shows how aggressive the poachers are here,” said Captain Jacqueline Le Duc.

“It proves to us that they are armed and that we need to take every panga that we come across seriously, because we have no idea what they are capable of,” she said.

Profepa condemned the attack in a statement and said that it would cooperate with investigations to bring the perpetrators to justice. It also said that it would continue to collaborate with Sea Shepherd and security forces in the effort to protect the environment.

Experts estimate that there are only between six and 19 vaquitas left in the Gulf of California, the only place in the world they live.

The attack on Saturday occurred in the same area where Sea Shepherd found a dead vaquita trapped in a net last March. Profepa said that the vaquita was in a state of advanced decomposition but had stab wounds consistent with the cutting of the net in which the animal was entangled.

Sea Shepherd has been collaborating with Mexican authorities for six years to remove gillnets from the Gulf of California.

Desperate to protect the fat profits they make from selling totoaba on the black market, poachers have resorted to violence in the past.

The Sea Shepherd vessel M/V Farley Mowat was attacked last January by crew members on more than 50 skiffs, who threw rocks and molotov cocktails at the ship, breaking its windows and causing its hull to catch fire.

The same vessel was ambushed and boarded by poachers earlier the same month, the United States-based marine conservation organization said.

Jaguar poachers now want animal’s genitals

, evidence shows Conservationists say there is a market in China for the jaguar’s penis Published on Thursday, February 6, 2020


Though jaguars have long been tracked down for their body parts to sell on the black market, scientists have observed the first case of a Mexican jaguar being poached for its genitals, according to the National Jaguar Conservation Alliance (ANCJ).

At a symposium on at-risk mammals and recovery strategies held on January 28, ANCJ vice president Heliot Zarza said that investigators late last year found the body of a jaguar from which only its penis had been removed.

The cadaver found in the Lacandona Jungle in Chiapas showed the same signs of poaching practiced by traffickers in Bolivia and Peru, where authorities have seized jaguar body parts from Chinese citizens.

Zarza ruled out the possibility that the jaguar had been poached to supply the domestic black market, since the poachers left intact its fur, claws and canine teeth, the parts customarily marketed in Mexico.

“There has been trafficking in Mexico for many years. We’ve seen decades of trafficking in products such as the pelts, teeth and claws for use in handicrafts. What has happened recently with the entrance of the Chinese market is the [removal of this] delicate part, because they want the jaguar’s penis as an aphrodisiac,” he said.

The ANCJ announced in December that the Chinese market is the biggest threat facing jaguars in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America.

In January, the organization urged authorities to make a coordinated effort to combat trafficking of the species.

It sent a letter to the National Guard requesting that its personnel who were part of the former Environmental Gendarmerie be deployed for such purposes.

“What we’re asking of the National Guard is that it takes the people that were trained in the Environmental Gendarmerie and direct them toward environmental measures,” said Zarza.

He added that the Maya Train project poses a threat to jaguar habitats in Mexico and said that the ANCJ will petition the government not to allow the train to pass through protected areas and to construct wildlife crossings so that the animals can move safely through their habitat.

This Woman Hunts People Who Hunt Endangered Animals In Africa

The African Wildlife Foundation reports that rhinos, elephants, and other types of African wildlife may go extinct in our lifetime, and the effects of poaching are definitely not to be taken lightly.

For example, the number of Black Rhinos has dropped by 97.6 percent since 1960, and it’s very clear that unless some invested interest and heavy force is given to help reduce the rates of poaching, many animals will go extinct, and the whole planet will feel the effects of that.

One way U.S. activists are trying to put an end on poaching is by enlisting retired vets to take part in an organization that puts their years of experience in combat training to work overseas. The organization is called VETPAW (Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife), and it’s entirely focused on protecting wildlife from being illegally hunted.

Kinessa Johnson, a US Army veteran who served 4 years in Afghanistan is a recent addition to the group, and she and a team arrived in Africa to take on a new mission. According to her, they’re there to do some anti-poaching, take down some bad guys, and do some good.

She and her team of fellow vets arrived in Tanzania, and she says that she has already noticed a decrease in poaching activity in her team’s area because their presence is known.
Her team’s primary focus is to train park rangers and patrol with them to provide support.

She says that African park rangers lost about 187 men last year over trying to save rhinos and elephants, and the training they will provide includes field medicine, marksmanship, and counter-intelligence.