Experts from seven countries have laid the foundation for a co-ordinated regional response to combat illegal poaching and trafficking.
Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed during a special meeting in Nepal to establish a secretariat and outline work plan for the newly formed South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN).
South Asia contains a range of habitats of global significance that support a unique array of animal and plant species such as tigers and other Asian big cats, rhino, marine and freshwater turtles, pangolins and Red Sanders. However, this rich biodiversity makes it a major target for poachers and wildlife traffickers. The illegal trade isincreasingly characterised by organised criminal syndicates working in more than one country.
Just 3,200 tigers left in the wild
In particular, tigers are in the spotlight this year during the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar.
There are possibly as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild and WWF is working this year to secure political commitments that will double the number of tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
The historic First Meeting of the South Asia Experts Group on Illegal Wildlife Trade was convened with the objective of helping wildlife law enforcement agencies becoming better organised than the criminals they monitor. More....