BANGKOK (AP) — Thai customs officials have seized more than 100 live pangolins and 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of scales from the endangered animal in their latest action against illegal wildlife trafficking, the customs department chief said Thursday.
The animals and animal parts were found Wednesday in two pickup trucks after authorities received a tip that they had been smuggled from Malaysia, according to Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri.
Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and contain keratin, a protein also found in rhino horn, though there is no scientific proof that they provide any medicinal value. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and some parts of China.
Demand for pangolin scales and meat has led to rampant poaching that is decimating populations across Asia. More than 1 million pangolins have been poached in the past decade, threatening the creature with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
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The alpha male leading a pack of ‘misbehaving’ animals being introduced into the Kruger gives new meaning to the label ‘underdog’.
Hopes for reintroducing African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) to the northern part of the Kruger National Park are now resting on the ability of one three-legged alpha male, Foxtrot, to make his artificially created pack thrive.
A regular escapee from Mkuze Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal – along with his three siblings – Foxtrot lost his lower left leg in a snare. “Don’t be worried, he’s doing very well and is the dominant male. He’s not disabled at all,” says zoologist and bioengineer Dr Antoine Marchal for the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
With only an estimated 350 wild dogs in the park, the critical project that hopes to boost the species’ numbers and restore a genetic link to those in Zimbabwe – and allow for genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding – is being run just outside the Shingwedzi rest camp in the Kruger.
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Chitipa Magistrate Court Tuesday sentenced a 26-year-old man to four years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) for being found in possession of ivory of an African elephant.
The court heard that Reverend Kanyimbo was arrested on August 23 in a rest house at Nthalire Trading Centre in the district following a tip from game rangers from Nyika National Park.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector Evans Mtepuka, told the court that the game rangers received information that the accused was secretly hunting for ivory potential buyer at the trading centre.
He said Kanyimbo committed a serious crime arguing that for him to possess ivory, an elephant was killed by the accused himself or another poacher.
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For years Chinese government officials were followed around the world, at every meeting, by a single issue: the scores of dead elephants across Africa, and the international community that blamed China for this “ivory “holocaust”.
Even the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, could not escape lectures on poached elephants and the evils of China’s legal domestic ivory trade from foreign leaders. For years, China deflected the criticism with claims of a long cultural heritage and incremental policies, such as a ban on ivory carving imports two years ago.
And then in June 2016, then president Barack Obama fulfilled a promise made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, and imposed a near total ban on domestic ivory sales. China followed suit, and officials shut 67 carving workshops and retail stores in March 2017, with another 105 set to close by the end of the year. It was an astonishing U-turn – a far bigger step than campaigners had dared to hope for.
So how did this come about? In many ways, the country’s swiftly implemented ivory ban is a textbook case of international pressure effectively extracting concessions for a country that often bucks global norms.
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Source: The Guardian