Asian Authorities Try to Curb Wild Animal Trafficking
By Ron Corben
30 May 2006
Seizure of 279 trafficked tiger skins in
Asia's regional police forces and customs officials are joining together in the fight against the illegal trafficking of wildlife in
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is creating a police and customs task force to end illegal wildlife trafficking.
The decision came at a meeting in Bangkok this month of officials from ASEAN customs and police, Interpol, the U.S. Justice Department and the U.N.'s endangered species agency (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora or CITES).
They will join environment officials in the so-called ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), created in December.
The task force will address the close links between wildlife smuggling, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime.
Officials say there is much to be done to curb wildlife trafficking, which threatens biodiversity and pushes species to the brink of extinction.
But John Sellar, a senior U.N. anti-smuggling officer, says ASEAN's task force is a good step forward in the fight against the wildlife black market.
"I think there's great potential here," he said. "There's great promise, but I've been a cop too long to know that this is not going to happen overnight, but a very important start has been made here."
Sellar says that collaboration between government agencies will provide more information on transnational wildlife traffickers.
Training and investigative programs are now being put in place that will heighten public awareness, which is a key step in stopping the illegal wildlife trade.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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