wildlife trafficking

3 spaces left for the Citizens Action for Tigers Trek – 22 to 25 Sept 2016, Malaysia

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3 places left in the upcoming CAT walk. Support tiger conservation and get the chance to walk where tigers still roam! If you can’t make it to this one, the next one is in Nov.

What is CAT?

The Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) program involves participants walking on the trails where the Malayan Tiger and other wildlife have been recorded. Since 2010, more than 200 CAT walks have been done by more than a thousand volunteer participants from over 31 countries. The CAT program is run by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT).

Malayan Tiger Corridor Trek Trip

For this 4 Day 3 Night trip – Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September 2016:

Cost per adult/non-student, based on a group of 8 pax = RM$960 (S$320)

Cost per adult/non-student, based on a group of 7 pax = RM$1097 (S$366)

Cost per adult/non-student, based on a group of 6 pax = RM$1280 (S$426)

Cost per student/repeat cat walker, based on a group of 8 pax = RM$720 (S$240)

Cost includes car transfers KL-Merapoh, guided treks, night drive, and village guesthouse accomodation.

Cost excludes coach Singapore-KL, and meals.

Why Support CAT?

In Peninsular Malaysia, there were about 3000 Malayan Tigers  in the 1950s. Presently there are less than 300 individuals. This sub-species is now on the extreme edge of extinction.

The presence of walkers on these trails will discourage illegal and destructive activities such as:

-poaching of wildlife

-cutting of forest trees

-burning of forest

-clearing forest for illegal plantation

 

Our survey walks will:

-report on animal snares and traps encountered so that they can be de-activated

-submit evidence of wildlife poaching activities encountered to the Wildlife Crime Hotline so that they can be investigated and stopped

-look for signs of wildlife such as Sun bear claw marks on trees, tiger paw prints and hoof marks on the trails, and observing wildlife encountered while on the trek.

-we support the local Batek Orang Asli native people community by engaging them as our guides.

 

Itinerary & program:
Day 1 Thursday 22 Sept:

8.00am – Board coach to KL

1.00pm – Arrive in KL, have lunch.

2.00pm – Pick up by van transfer to Merapoh, Sungei Yu.

5.00pm – Check-in village guest house.

7.00pm – Dinner in village

 

Day 2 Friday 23 Sept:

7.30am – Breakfast in village, pack lunch to go on whole day survey-trek.

8.00am – Leave for tiger survey-trek Trail 1

4.00pm – Back in village

7.00pm – Dinner in Gua Musang (Civet Cave) town

 

Day 3 Saturday 24 Sept:

7.30am – Breakfast in village

8.00am – Leave for tiger survey-trek Trail 2

1.00pm – Back in village for lunch

2.00pm – Visit MYCAT Sungei Yu Reforestation Site (refer below for details on our fun activities there)

7.00pm – Dinner in village

8.00pm – Night drive to look for wildlife

11.00pm – Back in village house

 

Day 4 Sunday 25 Sept:
7.30am – Breakfast in village

9.00am – Leave for KL

2.00pm – Arrive at KL coach station, lunch

3.30pm – Board coach for Singapore (actual time to be confirmed)

9.00pm – Arrive in Singapore

 

Visit to the reforestation site:

The MYCAT reforestation project site was recently launched on 29 July 2016. The site is under a portion of the longest elevated viaduct at Sungei Yu. The aim is to cover the de-forested site with native vegetation to encourage wildlife to use it as a green corridor to travel between the Titiwangsa central forests and Taman Negara. Participants will get a crash course on how to hands-on do maintenance on such a site to ensure the planted vegetation will survive and grow, and learn about native plants and their specific symbiosis with wildlife. We may also get to do some planting at the site with saplings sourced from the nursery of the Batek Orang Asli village nearby.

 

To join the trip, contact MYCAT: mycat.so@malayantiger.net

Enough is Enough! No More Dead Tigers – Deadline 29 July

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The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) is calling for 100,000 signatures to seek justice for the Malayan tiger by Global Tiger Day on 29 July 2016.

The online petition also calls for strengthened prosecution against wildlife crime and better protection for Tiger habitats and can be signed online, not just by Malaysian citizens at bit.do/mycatpetition

“Time and again Malaysia has seen Tiger traffickers and traders get away with a slap on the wrist, although the law allows for so much more. Why should they get away with lenient sentences, when Tigers get the death penalty?” said Dr Kae Kawanishi, Tiger biologist and MYCAT General Manager.

Read the FULL petition at bit.do/harimau.

(Read the full article from TRAFFIC here)

What happened at the 1st Asian Songbird Crisis Summit in Singapore

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From Sept 26 – 29,  the 1st Asian Songbird Crisis Summit was held at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore.

After spending the first day debating which species should be on the top 30 priority list for the Greater Sunda region, participants split up into 4 groups over the next 2 days to focus on topics of their expertise:

  1. Field & Genetics Research
  2. Captive Breeding & Husbandry
  3. Outreach, Education & Communications
  4. Trade, Legislation & Enforcement

Participants of the summit included experts from zoos and wildlife sanctuaries in the region and from EAZA, and NGOs like Cikananga Conservation and Breeding Centre, Burung Indonesia and Wildlife Conservation Society in Indonesia involved with fighting poaching on the ground. A representative from LIPI, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences also attended. From Singapore, we had Frank Rheindt (NUS), Madhu Rao (WCS & ASAP) and Vinayagan Dharmarajah (NSS) taking part in the meeting. More info on the summit can be found on the TRAFFIC website.

Dedicated participants braving the haze in the conference room
Sept 29- Last day of the summit! (Oct 28 – Haze unfortunately is still with us one month later 😦

Many of the songbirds on the list are from Indonesia and are being wiped out in the wild because of the domestic trade; however, as the host country of this conference, where does Singapore fit into this?  Improved monitoring and enforcement was identified as actions needed for songbird protection here. Songbird competitions – although not as popular here – are still around.  Oriental magpie robins, Hill Mynas, White-rumped shamas,  and Straw-headed bulbuls are some of the species that are apparently used. All these species can be found locally and more protection is needed because poaching, although at low levels, is happening here.

In addition, Singapore was identified in a 2012 TRAFFIC study on illegal bird trade from the Solomon Islands as a major importer of threatened bird species from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Many of the species supposedly captive bred were non-native to the Solomon Islands, but “local authorities confirmed that [the country] is not known to have substantial bird breeding facilities and registered bird breeders in the islands primarily use their facilities as holding sites for wild-caught birds bound for export”. Also, the numbers of import and re-export in Singapore just don’t add up: e.g. “800 Red Lories (again endemic to Indonesia) were imported by Singapore from the Solomon Islands, yet in that same period, more than twice that number (1677) were re-exported, again all reportedly originating from the Solomon Islands”.

In the meantime, the Conservation & Research team at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, led by Dr Sonja Luz, has been doing an amazing job of organizing meetings and bringing together experts from around the world to take action on endangered wildlife. The songbird crisis has also attracted international attention as seen in this New York Times article!

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WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Some of the things you can do to help endangered songbird species wherever you live or travel are to keep an eye out for the bird species that have been identified and report their locations to any of the organizations involved in the summit. Whether it’s in a pet shop, someone’s house or the market, finding the few remaining individuals of some of these species (such as the Nias Hill Myna) could prevent their imminent extinction by bringing them to a sanctuary where they can be bred in captivity by responsible organizations. A handy app to have on your phone is the Wildlife Witness App that you can use to report any illegal trade of the songbirds (and any other wildlife) to TRAFFIC. The reports will be sent to relevant enforcement authorities to take action against offenders, and will also contribute to a more complete understanding of the bird trade.

iPhone Screenshot 2
Screenshot of Wildlife Witness iPhone app

You can also learn about bird conservation and watching in Southeast Asia by joining organizations such as the Nature Society Singapore and the Oriental Bird Club, which help to protect bird species in the region. If you are in Singapore on 31 Oct & 1 Nov, the 6th Asian Bird Fair will be held over that weekend at the Botanic Gardens. The annual event aims to promote the protection of birds and their habitats, encourage birdwatching and other ecotourism activities.

From The Spectator: Rhinos Are Being Wiped Out For the Sake of Fairytales

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A great article by Simon Barnes about targeting the underlying problem with rhino demand – the belief that rhino horn cures a range of illnesses – and that new technology is not going to be the solution.

“Rhino-poaching for the Chinese medicine trade has been going on for years. The black rhino went nationally extinct in Zambia in the 1980s, though there’s now an excellent reintroduction programme. The trade in African rhinos has been increasing, not least because there are now many Chinese people working in Africa. Supply lines have been radically shortened, while the increasing prosperity in China put rhino horn within many more people’s range.

But now there is a further problem and it’s Vietnam. The place has gone nuts. Suddenly the country is full of wealthy middle-aged men and many of them require rhino horn to convince themselves that they’ve arrived. They use rhino horn to treat cancer; it’s also used to treat the after-effects of a night out. You can spend vast sums of money on a banquet and even more on your hangover: and the whole process shows just how far you’ve come in life. All this has led to the demented spike in rhino-poaching. This has been followed by complex and sometimes curious efforts to stop it — or at least cash in before they’ve all gone.”

According to a 2013 TRAFFIC factsheet on Rhino consumers, the main users of rhino horn tend to be men over the age of 40.

“Buyers and users of rhino horn form a powerful social network consisting of important individuals with whom it is crucial to maintain good relationships.”

Something to keep in mind in developing approaches to reducing consumer demand in Vietnam.

Javan rhino in a stream in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia / ©: 2015 Stephen Belcher Photography All Rights Reserved

 

Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge – Deadline 30 June

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Thousands of dead pangolins were seized in Medan by the Indonesian National Police together with WCS’s Wildlife Crime Unit in April 2015.

New ideas needed to stop species extinction from the illegal wildlife trade. The picture above is just one of many seizures that has been made this year alone, and we’re not even half way through the year.

The Challenge is now accepting Concept Notes. They will award multiple Grand Prizes worth up to $500,000 to applicants with the most impactful and scalable solutions to combat wildlife trafficking.

They are looking for solutions from all stages of innovation that apply to both marine and terrestrial wildlife that help:
1. Detect transit routes
2. Strengthen forensic evidence and data sharing
3. Reduce consumer demand
4. Tackle corruption

For more info: http://wildlifecrimetech.org/apply