CITES Partner Spotlight: INTERPOL’s Project WEB combats online wildlife crime

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“As the CITIES conference comes to the end of its first week, I thought I would just add the video in along with this post. Born Free’s CEO Will Travis, talks about some of the issues raised. Although I can’t believe the bid to halt the polar bear trade, was just swept under the table…WTF… Russia, Canada & the US…really have left the polar bears out in the cold…literally! I’m disgusted with their decision; same goes for the poor manatee!! I can’t wait to see what rubbish they come up with next week, for protecting species round the world; who are just about hanging on with their teeth!! Do the delegates from their respective country, actually know the danger some species are in?? I have my doubts given the first weeks bungles, honestly some of them are about as much use as a chocolate fire guard. Take about 30 of us animal advocates from face book, stick us round a table; & I’m sure we could come up with plans to help those in need!!”

Today saw the launch of the first ever internationally coordinated enforcement investigation into the online ivory trade.

Following the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW’s) recommendation and with our support INTERPOL undertook Project WEB, an investigation into the online ivory trade within the EU.

Summing up week one at the CITES meeting in Bangkok

Published on 8 Mar 2013

Will Travers, CEO of Born Free, sums up week one at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) meeting, covering secret ballots, elephants, rhino, polar bears, manatees and turtles.

The report revealed that there were hundreds of ivory items conservatively valued at approximately EUR 1,450,000 for sale during a two-week period on Internet auction sites in nine European countries.

During this survey of sites by enforcers, more than 660 advertisements for ivory on 61 different auction sites were analysed and as a result of the surveillance, six national and three international investigations were launched in cases where ivory was described as new or where ivory was being traded from abroad.

Project WEB by the numbers:

Estimated €1.45 million worth of ivory

Found in 9 Countries

Across 61 auction websites

In 660 online advertisements

Containing 100s of items made from ivory

Over a 2 week period

Leading to 6 national investigations

And 3 international investigations

This week sees the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

The 177 countries that are Party to CITES have already agreed, thanks in part to IFAW’s lobbying efforts, to investigate and prosecute wildlife criminals trading online as well as evaluate or develop their domestic measures to ensure they are sufficient to fight online wildlife crime.

While at least one country has strengthened their legislation to specifically target online wildlife crime and a small number of countries have started to develop strategies for tackling illegal wildlife sales on the internet, many more countries need to deliver on their promise and stamp out online wildlife crime.

Since 2004 IFAW has been highlighting the growing global threat posed by online wildlife crime to endangered wildlife.  A series of IFAW investigations have repeatedly shown that there are thousands of wild animals and wildlife ‘products’, such as ivory, available for sale on the internet all over the world.

Stop The Ivory trade

IFAW has found live primates, big cats, birds and reptiles advertised online while animal parts from rhino’s, elephants, sharks, Tibetan antelopes and sturgeon have also been available to purchase on the internet.

In January 2012, IFAW’s online monitoring found 17,847 ivory products listed on 13 Chinese websites, even though none of these products had the necessary Government approval.

Meanwhile, a four-week investigation in the United Arab Emirates and some neighbouring Arab countries in the same year found 796 adverts featuring live wildlife over 11 websites. None of the adverts had any documentary proof to demonstrate that the sales complied with the law.

In Europe an IFAW investigation in 2011 found a thriving trade in ivory items. The investigation tracked 43 sites in the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Germany for a two-week period and found 669 advertisements for ivory.

The statistics are disturbing but can be hard to comprehend so let me give you one example that shows the horrors of this illegal trade.

In 2010 a British couple admitted 12 counts of illegally exporting, three of illegally importing, seven of illegally selling and two of illegally possessing specimens under the Customs and Excise Management Act.

The couple in question had been selling animal body parts from owls, a baboon, macaque monkeys, a python, an African penguin, an African lion cub and a Malaysian flying fox.

These items were kept in a store room full of skulls and other animal body parts which, when I saw the pictures, made me think it as a room of death for wildlife.

Highlighting the problem of this trade is an important first step but IFAW has been going one stage further and engaging website companies, law enforcers and Governments in our campaign to stamp out online wildlife crime.

After our 2008 Killing with Keystrokes investigation, where we found ivory was the number one wildlife product being traded online, we encouraged eBay to ban the sale of ivory on their websites and IFAW was very pleased to see them announce this ban in January 2009.

Meanwhile other websites have since followed suit including Alibaba (www.taobao.com) in China, the world’s largest business-to-business and outsource portal site for traders.

However, while banning the sale of wildlife products on websites does restrict unscrupulous traders’ ability to easily profit from these products, there is clearly a need for enforcers to ramp up their efforts.

We have seen traders time and again attempting to disguise their wildlife products to avoid detection by police, customs or website companies such as eBay.

In addition to working with INTERPOL IFAW is working with enforcement agencies across the world to catch online wildlife criminals by sharing the findings of our online investigations, facilitating international enforcement operations and by bringing together website companies and enforcement agencies in order that they can work in partnership in their fight against illegal wildlife sales on the internet.

–TM

Please sign petition:- Take action to help end the trafficking of wildlife online now, click here. 

News Link:-http://www.ifaw.org/united-kingdom/news/cites-partner-spotlight-interpol%E2%80%99s-project-web-combats-online-wildlife-crime

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South Africa To Use Aircraft Against Rhino Poachers

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South Africa is to deploy a reconnaissance airplane to combat a massive rise in rhino poaching.

The plane will be equipped with surveillance equipment including thermal imaging to detect poachers.

It will patrol over the Kruger National Park, a vast reserve that borders Mozambique and home to two-thirds of South Africa’s rhino population.

So far this year 588 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, in what is being called a “relentless onslaught”.

That figure has risen from just 13 reported cases in 2007 as organised and well-armed crime syndicates target the animals.

South Africa is home to the world’s largest rhino population – an estimated 18,000 white rhinos and 1,700 critically endangered black rhino.

The rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine, even though there is no scientific proof of its effects. It sells for around $95,000 (£60,000) per kilo, almost twice the value of gold.

Rhino poaching in South Africarhino (1)

  • 2007: 13 reported cases
  • 2008: 83 reported cases
  • 2009: 122 reported cases
  • 2010: 333 reported cases
  • 2011: 448 reported cases
  • 2012: 588 reported cases – to 4 Dec

Source: Traffic, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network

The director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Jason Bell, said: “The killing of rhinos for their horns does not exist in a vacuum, but is a complex problem where values of tradition and culture have been corrupted in the name of commercial exploitation.”

“Be it elephants and ivory, tigers and tiger parts, rhinos and rhino horn, the endpoint is the same – profit. And that profit is being chased down in the most brutal fashion by organised crime syndicates.”

So far this year, South Africa has already armed some of its park rangers and deployed dog patrols to try and stop the poachers.

The surveillance airplane for the Kruger National Park was donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, whose chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said: “You have to fight fire with fire.

“This thermal imaging technology will deliver more powerful observation capability to the Kruger National Park’s rangers, making it difficult for poachers to hide.”

News Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20592820

Botswana To Ban Hunting Over Wildlife Species Decline

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Botswana will ban commercial hunting from January 2014 over growing concerns about the sharp decline in wildlife species, officials have announced.

“The shooting of wild game for sport and trophies is no longer compatible with our commitment to preserve local fauna,” the environment ministry said.

The ban is likely to be controversial as many communities depend on hunting for their livelihoods.

As much as a third of the global elephant population lives in Botswana. Recent estimates place the number at about 130,000.

Conservationists are concerned about the erosion of river banks caused by the animals in some nature parks, the BBC’s Letlhogile Lucas in the capital, Gaborone, reports.

The ban, set to come into place on 1 January, could also pose a threat to local communities, in particular bushmen, for whom hunting is a means to survive, our correspondent adds.

Furthermore, selling hunting licences to wealthy Westerners is an extremely lucrative business, he says.

Hunting concessions currently exist in the northern Okavango Delta and the parks of the Kalahari region, famous for its upmarket safari lodges.

According to the environment ministry’s official statement, the government will continue to issue special game licences “for traditional hunting by some local communities within designated wildlife management areas”.

Average trophy fee per species

  • Elephant: Up to $30,000, depending on weight
  • Lion: $29,000
  • Leopard: $7,150
  • Buffalo: $3,744
  • Giraffe: $3,500
  • Zebra: $1,923

Due to its seasonal nature, hunting has only contributed a minimal amount to the tourism sector, which ranks second to the diamond industry in terms of its revenue earnings, the ministry said.

Designated hunting zones will be turned into “photographic areas”.

The announcement has been welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The ideal scenario would be that it has a similar effect to the ban on whaling 20 years ago,” the organisation’s spokesman, Adrian Hiel, told the BBC.

“Whale watching is now proven to be more sustainable and profitable than hunting and killing the animals.”

Earlier this year, Spain’s King Juan Carlos faced international criticism for going on a hunting trip in Botswana. “He apologised to the Spanish people, not the world!”

News Link:-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20544251

 

Prestigious award for Great Harwood vet who nursed neglected horse back to health

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A HORSE named Hope who was left for dead in a muddy field has been crowned a ‘Show Champion’ – and her new owner was named ‘Vet of the Year’ for nursing her back to health.

Vet Vikki Fowler was so horrified by the the animal’s condition when she visited land off Plantation Road, Egworth, she bought her.

Last month Hope’s former owner, Philip Davies, was found guilty of 52 counts of animal cruelty for mistreating the 16 horses.

A year on from the rescue, all the horses have flourished in loving new homes.

Hope as she was found in a field in Edgworth

And Vikki, 26, from Great Harwood, has been presented with an award by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) charity at the House of Commons for rescuing the three-year-old shire horse.

Hope had been was found collapsed with her legs tangled in barbed wire. She was cut free by onlookers and Vikki, who was the on call vet, was called.

Vikki said: “I thought she was dead. Her head was under the water and she was drowning.

“When we lifted her up with the crane I was convinced that she would not be able to stand.

She was extremely thin and she had no strength. A normal horse, trapped in barbed wire, wouldn’t just give up.”

Vikki advised Davies to put her into stables that day. But this advice was ignored and Hope was found collapsed again later that day.

The RSPCA was called to the scene and neighbours alerted Vikki.

The vet offered to take Hope off Davies’ hands, and after agreeing a price, Hope was taken to safety by Vikki that evening.

She said: “I have already shed a lot of tears over Hope. She needed a lot of love and care and attention.

“She was full of lice, mites and worms, and her feet were shocking. I was convinced she was going to have to be put to sleep, but she very slowly started to regain strength every day.

“He was extremely weak and malnourished. With good food and time she has come through.

“She has cost me thousands to nurse her back to health, but if I had left her, she would have died.”

Hope has just won the title of Overall Supreme Champion in the rescued horse class in a horse show. She is also expecting to start her riding preparation work in the next few weeks.

News Link:http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/10026897.Prestigious_award_for_Great_Harwood_vet_who_nursed_neglected_horse_back_to_health/

Related:-https://preciousjules1985.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/edgworth-man-left-horses-to-survive-in-filth/

Breeder who did this to his shire horses is fined £86,000 and banned from keeping animals for life – Updated, 31 October 2012

“This verdict isn’t what I was hoping for, I wanted him to have jail time, bxxxxxd”

Seventeen horses were forced to live in ‘appalling conditions’ by Philip Davies

Following the guilty verdict, he was ordered to pay £85,736 in RSPCA expenses and costs.

He was also tagged for 12 weeks under an 8pm to 7am curfew order and instructed to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work, as well as being disqualified from keeping horses indefinitely.

The RSPCA transferred most of the untamed horses to 300-acre stables in Hull for treatment and rehabilitation.

A further two had to be sedated before being taken to stables in Bolton. Hope remains with Miss Fowler.

Miss Fowler, 26, who picked up a Vet of the Year award in the House of Lords this week for her work on the campaign, said she was ‘delighted’ with the verdict.
Read morehttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2223293/Breeder-did-shire-horses-fined-86-000-banned-keeping-animals-life.html#ixzz2ChO3yLXn

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IFAW PSA: “You Love Them / We Save Them” (German)

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“No words or language barrier here…apart from…way to go IFAW…keep up the great work!!”

Published on 20 Sep 2012 by 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare‘s fall 2012 Public Service Announcement (PSA). German version. For more information about our efforts to protect animals around the world, visit http://ifaw.org

Iles-de-la-Madeleine harp seals spared after worldwide outcry

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One of two seals at the Aquarium des Iles who were set to be killed because they could not be released into the wild. They have been given a reprieve, but petitioners will need to raise $73,000 by next week.

The fate of two harp seals at an aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine has raised an international outcry, with more than 124,000 people from around the world signing an 11th hour petition to save them.

Originally slated to be killed Saturday, the strength of the opposition has led the Aquarium to spare six-month-old pups Zak and Mika – for now.

But it is still not clear who will take care of the seals, and at whose expense.

Every spring for the last 25 years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans catches two whitecoat harp seals to put on display at the aquarium in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, to be released back into the wild when the aquarium closes in the fall.

But with new directives from the DFO this year barring their release because of concerns they may transmit disease to wild populations of seals and other animals, the aquarium planned to kill the two seals Saturday as it closed its doors for the fall and winter.

One of the workers at the aquarium alerted a wildlife rehabilitation centre on Saltspring Island, B.C., however, and the petition was born, drawing thousands of signatures a day for the past week.

In response, the Aquarium des Iles issued a statement Friday suggesting it could send the animals to Oceanopolis, a facility in Brest, Franceif those who signed the petition come up with the $73,000 needed to care for them in the meantime, by Sept. 21.

Wildlife organizations were not impressed.

“It feels a little like they’re taking the seals hostage – like a ransom note: “Now that you’re upset, give us some money or we’ll kill them,” said Michelle Cliffe, a spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is helping to organize the effort. “We think it’s the responsibility of an aquarium to have a plan and the finances to care for animals prior to taking on those animals.”

Cliffe said the sheer number of people that have signed on, from as far away as Russia and Greece and across the U.S., show that people do care about the animals, and so should the aquarium.

“The mandate of the aquarium is to educate the public about these animals, and create a bond with them,” Cliffe said. “It seems very strange and very sad that they would then destroy the very animals they are trying to educate people about – what is the message and what is the learning there?”

Aquarium directors could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a caretaker said it’s been “hell” for the last three days, as the fate of the seals is all anyone is talking about.

Cliffe said her organization is in contact with the DFO and is looking into whether there is a way to mitigate the medical risks of releasing the seals to the wild — the best, and cheapest solution.

Barring that the IFAW is also examining the conditions in which the seals would be cared for, both en route and at Oceanopolis. In terms of minimizing suffering, euthanasia may be preferable to putting the seals in a cage on an airplane for eight hours, she said.

But the situation raises bigger questions about why the DFO is capturing marine mammals to begin with — at taxpayers’ expense — and about the lack of legislation protecting marine mammals both in the wild and in captivity.

Based on the testimony of three workers at Marineland, the Toronto Star has published a series of stories highlighting the poor living conditions at that aquarium in Niagara Falls, and more than 76,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to enact laws and regulations to protect animals in zoos and aquaria.

The DFO stopped the capture of whales for the benefit of aquaria following recommendations made in 1999, Cliffe said. It should now stop capturing all marine mammals

News Link:-: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Iles+Madeleine+harp+seals+spared+after+worldwide+outcry/7248949/story.html#ixzz26aJwwsLJ

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON ANIMAL WELFARE

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“As a follow on from the previous posts, nothing will change unless we make it change…I see animals  as sentient beings…but I have to convince others of it too! Why, because too many people think animals are only there for human consumption, human ridicule, human torment, human entertainment, garden ornaments, throw away items etc. Truly understand the meaning of ‘sentient’ which is; capable of feeling! So if it breathes & bleeds, just like animals sent to slaughter… it can feel pain…just like we can!!” 

“Hard to believe but it’s true, so please, do the right thing by signing the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare…because  farm animals, horses, etc. feel exactly the same feelings as your pet dog or cat, some may not be as smart, but they hurt all the same…they are sentient beings… just like us!!”

Please support the campaign to achieve a Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW) at the United Nations.

In principle, the Universal Declaration will call on the United Nations to recognise animals as sentient beings, capable of experiencing pain and suffering, and to recognise that animal welfare is an issue of importance as part of the social development of nations worldwide.

The campaign to achieve the UDAW is being co-ordinated by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, with a core working group including Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Humane Society International (HSI).

A Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare would be an agreement among people and nations that:

  • Animals are sentient and can suffer
  • Animals’ welfare needs must be respected
  • Animal cruelty must end for good.

View the draft declaration (2 65KB)

What will it achieve?

The adoption of a UDAW by the United Nations would:

  • Establish animal welfare as an international issue
  • Encourage governments to improve and enforce national animal welfare legislation by providing a benchmark
  • Recognise that animal welfare is a key factor in humanitarian and environmental policy making
  • Encourage industries which use animals to keep welfare at the forefront
  • Acknowledge the risks to animals caused by environmental factors such as climate change, habitat loss and pollution
  • Create a more compassionate global attitude to animal welfare, including their needs and habitats

A declaration would also enhance the lives of over 1 billion people who rely on animals for their livelihoods, and the countless others look to animals for companionship.

You can support this campaign by signing the “Animals Matter to me” petition:

Visit the petition website and sign the declaration

Link:-http://www.ciwf.org.uk/animal_sentience/universal_declaration_on_animal_welfare/default.aspx

 

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