A workshop jointly organized by the Anti-Smuggling Bureau of China’s General Administration of Customs and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW, www.ifaw.org), to combat trafficking of endangered species successfully concluded today. Over 30 front-line Customs officers from across the country attended the 3-day capacity building workshop, where they shared techniques and skills to detect and prevent wildlife trafficking.
Poaching of wildlife to supply the illegal trade in their parts and derivatives, has reached epidemic levels in recent years. Huge profits in commercial exploitation of wildlife have attracted criminal organizations to the transnational and transcontinental trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products, using the same methods and routes as the trafficking of weapons and drugs. From wildlife poaching to smuggling to supplying the market, illegal wildlife trade poses increasing threats to bio-diversity, economic growth, regional stability and national security.
“The Asia region, while rich in biodiversity, unfortunately also hosts some of the world’s largest consumer markets for wildlife and wildlife products. The demand for wildlife such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger bones in Asia is threating the survival of these species.” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for IFAW. “As the world’s second largest economy and a key consumer country for wildlife species, China has a special responsibility to control its borders to prevent wildlife smuggling”.
China Customs have thwarted many ivory smuggling operations in recent years. In 2012, China’s Customs mobilized enforcement agencies around the country to carry out a series of anti-smuggling crackdowns under Operation National Shied, resulting in the confiscation of 236 tonnes of wildlife contraband. More recently, the investigation by Customs resulted in the conviction of a major ivory seller in Fujian and his accomplices for their role in an international ivory trafficking scheme that smuggled nearly eight tonnes of ivory from Africa. More....