smugglers 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.

SAA signs up to illegal wildlife trade module of IEnvA programme (South Africa)

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Air Cargo News | December 23, 2019

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South African Airways (SAA) has joined the fight against illegal shipping of animals by signing up to the Illegal Wildlife Trade module of the IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) programme. IEnvA is a comprehensive environmental management system that SAA uses as a standard for its environmental sustainability strategy.

It describes IEnvA as an equivalent to IATA’s better known Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), but relating to the environment rather than to safety. Like IOSA certification, SAA is measured against, and certified as, IEnvA compliant.

Original photo as published by Air Cargo News.

The carrier achieved IEnvA Stage 2 certification in March 2015 and is now being audited for Illegal Wildlife Training certification, IATA seeking to ensure that all the appropriate systems and procedures are in place and that the airline is committed to the fight against illegal wildlife shipping.

The airline is already a signatory to the Buckingham Palace Declaration of the United for Wildlife initiative. Spearheaded by the UK’s Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) and the Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife is an alliance of organisations working to protect endangered species like elephants, rhinos, tigers and pangolins.

Since its inception in December 2014, the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce has been working to facilitate collaboration between the transport sector and law enforcement to prevent wildlife trafficking across the world. What started out with 12 members of the Taskforce grew to 40 members with the initial signing of the Buckingham Palace Declaration in March 2016, and it now has more than 100 signatories.

“We can all do our part to stop this scourge that subjects our wildlife to cruel methods of smuggling or to death at the hands of poachers,” commented Zuks Ramasia, SAA’s acting chief executive. “SAA is committed to making a difference and protecting our wildlife,” she added.

The airline pointed that South Africa’s wildlife is one of the country’s most valuable natural assets and is a huge draw for the nation’s tourism industry and, “as the national carrier, we are doing our part to protect that heritage.

“SAA will be increasing awareness, training and co-operation with law enforcement. Over the course of the next year, all employees will have the opportunity to get involved and be trained in methods to detect these smugglers and their activities and to report these to the relevant authorities,” the carrier confirmed.

It has been a tough time of late for South Africa’s flag-carrier. November saw it suffer from a period of industrial action during which members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Airways Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) within the airline went on strike.

Moreover, the business environment over this past year has been very difficult and challenging for most businesses, including SAA, Ramaisa has said.


Five most wanted rhino poachers apprehended in Biswanath (India)

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The Sentinel | September 18, 2019

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BISWANATH: In a major breakthrough the Assam police along with the Special Rhino Protection Force (SRPF) apprehended 5 rhino poachers at Biswanath Forest Division of Kaziranga National Park on Tuesday during an operation.

The apprehended poachers were identified as Buddindra Kaman, Pranab Kutum, Subhan Kutum, Shivguru Pegu and Kuwati Pegu.

Forest officials also informed that the apprehended poachers were involved in the killing of one-horned rhinoceros on April 8, 2019, at Gimiri Forest Division.

The officials also seized rhino nails, one motorcycle and five mobile handsets from their possession. Notably, the rhino nails are sold at a price of Rs 6000 per piece.

Original photo as published by Sentinelassam.com.

It may also be mentioned that earlier based on a tip-off, a team of Numaligarh Police led by Madhurjya Dadhara, IC of Numaligarh police outpost, on the night of September 6 apprehended a gang of two rhino horn smugglers from Purbangla area on NH-39.

According to police, the smugglers have been identified as Konwar Shyam and Borsingh Hanse of Sokihula, Karbi Anglong. The sources added further that the gang was on the way to a location near Baba Thaan near Numaligarh to sell a rhino horn but before handing it over to the dealers, Numaligarh Police was able to pick up the smugglers from Pubangla area.

Police later seized the rhino horn, one motorbike (AS-05-D-3835), two mobile handsets and other objectionable items from their possession. In police interrogation, the two detained smugglers have also named one more accomplice, identified as Montu Buragohain of Panikora Gaon. Police are searching for the third smuggler who is on the run. The weight of the seized rhino horn is around 1 kg and its value is in lakhs of rupees. Police have registered a case under the wildlife protection act and investigation is on.