Agencies to jointly combat wildlife crime
This transnational felony needs to be tackled on all fronts, top Thai officialMore than 30 international agencies yesterday agreed to join in combating wildlife crime across the world.
"Every country needs to cooperate to fight against this transnational environment crime," Thai National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Department's deputy director Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said.
Ministers and high-level representatives from over 30 countries along with observers from international organisations attended the roundtable yesterday as part of the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The event, hosted by International Consortium on Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), was held ahead of the first global meeting of wildlife enforcement networks.
The meeting was also attended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Customs Organisation (WCO), International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), the secretariat of CITES and the World Bank.
Under this collaboration, Interpol will help countries exchange information related to crime against wildlife via a safe and secret channel. WCO will also open channels for all members to exchange information on illegal export and import of wildlife.
UNODC will provide guidelines on analysing and tackling wildlife trade, while the CITES secretariat will produce a manual to help track the transportation of wildlife products.
"Transnational criminals have changed their means of transporting and trading wildlife. We need a strong network to fight against international criminal organisations," Theerapat said.
Previously, he added, criminal organisations transported goods via cars, boats or by air, but now they receive orders online and send the stuff via mail. Some of them also mix illegal wildlife products with fresh produce like meat or vegetables so the authorities are unable to identify the illicit products, he added.
"We found that some Siamese rosewood is being transported in new cars," he added.
In addition, a recent study by the World Conservation Society (WCS) found that the number of wild elephants in Central Africa has drastically dropped by 62 per cent between 2002 and 2011, and this decrease has been blamed on the illegal poaching for ivory.
Elizabeth Bennett, WCS's vice president for species conservation, said countries need to enforce strict laws to control illegal ivory trade in order to stop the poaching in Central Africa. She has also asked relevant agencies to collect DNA samples of wild elephants in order to track the source of ivory.