animal parts Archives - Rhino Review

Smuggling of animal body parts continues unabated (Nepal)

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The Himalayan Times | January 24, 2020

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KATHMANDU: Police arrested a person with an elephant tusk from Lagankhel, Lalitpur, yesterday. A special team deployed by Pulchowk-based Metropolitan Police Sector found Tarakanta Chaudhary, 37, of Siraha in possession of the body part of endangered wildlife during a security check.

Officials said they had launched further investigation into the case to ascertain whether Chaudhary had poached the elephant for its tusk or had purchased it from someone else. Police are preparing to turn him over to Forest Division Office, Lalitpur, for legal action.

Despite concerted efforts of police and national and international agencies to crack down on smugglers and poachers, illegal trading in endangered wild animals’ body parts continues unabated in the country. Racketeers are found to be using Kathmandu as a transit for smuggling wildlife body parts to foreign countries, mainly China.

According to the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police, it arrested 61 persons with 7.6 kg pangolin scales, three bear gall bladders, two tiger skins, five leopard skins, one rhino horn, six musk pods and seven jaws of clouded leopard.

Statistics provided by Division Forest Office, Kathmandu, show that it received from police 1,468 live bird species, 92 leopard skins, 94 red panda skins, 26 rhino horns, 400 kg pangolin scales, 19 bear gall bladders, 19 tiger skins, 18 musk pods, eight wildcat skins and 14 elephant tusks, among others, from fiscal 1998-99 to fiscal 2017-18.

As many as 371 cases were filed against 726 Nepalis, 44 Indian nationals, 11 Chinese citizens, two Saudi Arabians, two Americans, two Turks,and one each Cambodian, Thai and Pakistani for wildlife crimes.

DFO is the only authorised body for prosecuting wildlife poachers and smugglers under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act-1973

The wild animals most sought after by poachers and smugglers include red panda, tiger, rhino, elephant, leopard, musk deer and pangolin. Police said international drug smugglers were found to be using Kathmandu as a transit for smuggling wildlife body parts.

According to a report of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal is home to around two per cent of the global population of red panda amounting approximately to 300. Their number is dwindling due to the all-pervasive human pressure on their natural habitat and poaching.

Police said red panda hides and body parts were usually smuggled to China and Myanmar for their supposed medicinal qualities and aesthetic use.

Poachers have been found selling red panda hide for Rs 200,000 to 600,000 depending on their clients. Similarly, pangolin scales and body parts of other wild animals are in high demand in Asian markets as they are used in manufacturing traditional Chinese medicine, handicraft and decorative items.

Police investigation shows that local poachers usually come to Kathmandu with wildlife body parts in search of prospective clients and sell them to racketeers, who eventually smuggle the contraband to foreign countries. Any person arrested with body parts of endangered wild animals is handed over to the DFO concerned for legal action.

Anyone involved in the trade of protected species can be slapped a fine up to Rs 100,000 and a jail term of five to 15 years as per the existing law.

Ministers seek views on banning trophy imports to curb hunting of endangered animals (UK)

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Jane Dalton, The Independent | November 2, 2019

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The UK government is asking for people’s views on whether to ban imports of body parts from hunted endangered wild animals such as lions, elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Ministers are under pressure to crack down on the practice of bringing “trophies” such as skins, bones, tusks and heads into the UK, as public anger has risen over endangered species being killed.

Earlier this year, The Independent exposed how British trophy-hunters legally killed and brought home the bodies of about 500 baboons and monkeys over 30 years. British trophy-hunters are also paying to kill giraffes in Africa despite fears of extinction. And the UK is one of 12 countries whose hunters have taken at least 1,000 trophies and brought home more than a ton of ivory according to the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting (CBTH).

Original photo as published by Independent.co.uk: Hunters may bring back to the UK body parts from endangered species including African lions (Photo: iStock).

Labour has already pledged to outlaw the sale of souvenirs from wild animals, preventing wealthy hunters from profiting from trophies obtained abroad.

The Conservatives have been promising since 2015 to ban lion parts imports unless the hunting industry cleaned up its act.

Now the government has launched a public consultation and call for evidence on options to curb imports and exports of hunting trophies to the UK, including a potential ban.

The consultation, which runs until 25 January, considers four options:

— a ban on all hunting trophies entering or leaving the UK

— a ban on imports and exports of trophies from certain species

— stricter rules to demonstrate “clear benefits to conservation and local communities” before hunting trophies can be imported or exported

— continuing to apply current controls, which state the importer must show “there has been no detrimental impact on the endangered species and the trophy has been obtained from a sustainable hunting operation”.

Eduardo Goncalves, founder and president of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, welcomed the consultation, saying: “Opinion polls show 86 per cent want all trophy hunting banned. The consultation exercise should take that into account.

“British trophy hunters are among the worst in the world when it comes to shooting lions in captivity and elephants. They are currently allowed to shoot and bring home trophies of a number of other vulnerable species including cheetahs, leopards, rhinos and hippos.

“Killing animals purely for pleasure and to show off a trophy has no place in a civilised society. People want this disgraceful ‘sport’ consigned to the dustbin of history.”

He dismissed claims by the hunting industry that trophy hunting has benefited conservation.

Experts agree that canned lion hunting in South Africa – in which the animals are bred to be legally shot for money at close range – endangers wild populations by creating a cover for poaching.

Police seize hundreds of animal parts in Istanbul

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The Daily Sabah | October 30, 2019

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Turkish police seized hundreds of illegal animal parts worth TL 1.5 million ($261,000) in a raid at an apartment in Istanbul’s Kağıthane district, authorities said Wednesday.

According to the police, the raid took place on Oct. 23 and a total of 269 items were seized, including dozens of wildlife parts, such as a 4.6-meter python skin, two ivory tusks and a rhino horn. The police also found dozens of items made out of animal parts, such as prayer beads and ornaments.

Original photo as published by Dailysabah.com. (DHA Photo)

The police said the suspect was an Azerbaijani national and was released on judiciary control after being briefly detained.

Turkey is a key transit region for endangered species of flora and fauna between countries. Although African and Asian countries are associated with wildlife trafficking, Turkey and other European countries are the key routes for traffickers to smuggle and sell their animals.

Turkey has long been in the fight against wildlife trafficking. In 2013, the fifth meeting of the wildlife smuggling project coordinated by Turkey and Spain within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was held in the northern city of Rize.

Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal purposes or are used as an aphrodisiac, especially in Asia. Meanwhile, ivory has been used for centuries to make carvings, jewelry, furniture, piano keys and other items.

More North Korean diplomats caught smuggling animal parts from Africa

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Omphile Ndlovu, Diggers | September 21, 2019

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This report can reveal that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) officials in Africa have continued to engage in illegal smuggling, thus putting African governments at risk and wildlife species, such as Rhinos, in danger. According to a government official who requested to remain anonymous due to the on-going investigation, a North Korean diplomat named Kim Hyon Chol was this year caught by Dutch authorities smuggling tusks out of South Africa.

Original photo as published by Diggers: Investigative journalist Julian Rademeyer and cameraman Phillip Hattingh try to talk to North Korean officials at their Embassy in Pretoria South Africa.

This is yet another smuggling incident by DPRK, as multiple other incidents across Africa have been reported in recent years. In December 2015, a North Korean diplomat was ejected from South Africa after he was allegedly discovered to be abusing his diplomatic immunity and his embassy’s diplomatic bag to smuggle rhino horn out of South Africa, according to reports from national media outlet News24. South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman Nelson Kgwete then regretted the incident involving the North Korean diplomat named Park Chol-jun.

In September 2017, The Economist reported that Africa is a smugglers’ paradise for North Korean diplomats, citing another North Korean official, Kim Jong Su, who was detained in Maputo, Mozambique after police found about $100,000 in cash and 4.6kgs of rhino horn in his vehicle.

A 2017 report by The Global Initiation against Transnational Organized Crimes lifted the lid on state-sanctioned North Korean criminal activity in Africa, exposing diplomats and embassies linked to illicit trade in rhino horn, ivory, cigarettes and gold.

African governments have previously taken some action against North Korea smuggling of endangered animal parts, and these deterrent actions by affected countries have received praise from the UN and regional conservative groups.

Commenting on the latest development in South Africa, Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, condemned the conduct of North Korean diplomats, describing it as a shame. “A criminal is a criminal, period! It makes no difference whether you are a diplomat or a peasant. As diplomats they should have been more noble. It is disappointing to learn that a reputable diplomat could actually do such a despicable thing quite unbecoming of their caliber. Shame on them!” said Dr Kigwangalla.

And spokesperson of the Mozambique National Police, Orlando Mudumane, recalled how his officers caught two North Koreans with smuggled rhino horn and bags of dollars, but expressed ignorance that one of them was a diplomat.

“Indeed, North Korean citizens involved in the trafficking of rhino spikes were arrested in Maputo and were publicly presented to the press but were not diplomats. I was the one who presented the case to the press. Mr Pak Chol Chun and Kim Jong Su, the latter was that he would be in Mozambique as a taekwondo master,” he recalled.

“In the car transporting the two North Koreans, and two more Mozambican citizens, the Police of the Republic of Mozambique found 4.6 kilograms of rhino horns and $ 93,300. We said the two foreigners accused of trafficking were returned to freedom after a US$30,000 bail was paid,” said Mudumane.

A South African Foreign Affairs official who sought anonymity said the continued involvement in smuggling by North Korean diplomats was straining the relations with African countries. “Look, diplomats are expected to be exemplary. These incidences take away from the mutual trust and the diplomatic spirit that is expected from bilateral relations. This is not the first time. In 2015, there was a similar case; that incident was an embarrassment, and this latest development only goes to show that there is an element of State sponsored smuggling by our colleagues,” said the official.

“So this, indeed, is a wake up call for African government to evaluate their relationship with North Korea. I can tell you that South Africa has made formal complaints to DPRK in the past.”

While Kim Hyon Chol has left South Africa permanently, a source involved in the investigation noted that North Korean officials involved in the attempted smuggling are still in South Africa.

Regional experts say that the Dutch interdiction of Kim Hyon Chol is expected to encourage African governments to step up mechanism aimed at curbing state-sponsored smuggling. Experts further warn that if African governments do not shake up their “risky” relationships with North Korea, their bilateral ties will largely be one way in favour of the Asian country.

Meanwhile, shipping companies in Southern Africa say they are increasingly skeptical of doing business with DPRK, as the companies are likely to lose money as shipments risk confiscation.

African rhinos have been poached at a rate of three per day for five straight years. This is according to the International Rhino Foundation 2018 report. And the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is warning that two of Africa’s rhino species are being pushed back into the brink of extinction due to a huge surge in poaching and illegal rhino horn smuggling, primarily into Asia.

Countries and conservationists are stepping up their efforts to curb wildlife smuggling on the continent, but there appears to be loopholes in these efforts to stop the systematic trend of State-sponsored wildlife smuggling involving diplomats.

According to a new National Geographic report, at least 18 instances of North Korean diplomats being implicated in smuggling have been reported, but they’ve rarely been caught or punished.