Illegal Wildlife Trade: Baseline for Monitoring and Law Enforcement in the Sulu-Celebes Seas

Written by on May 26, 2023

The study reported over 25,000 live animals and over 120,000 tonnes of wildlife, parts and plants seized from illegal trade in this area between June 2003 and September 2021.

The sheer volume of hundreds of marine and terrestrial species poached and trafficked through this lesser-known seas is a wake-up call for action before it’s too late.”

Serene Chng, Senior Programme Officer of TRAFFIC International Southeast Asia and co-author of the report

The authors of Illegal Wildlife Trade: Baseline for Monitoring and Law Enforcement in the Sulu-Celebes Seas found the two seas are used more as a conduit to smuggle wildlife between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, rather than as a transit pathway to other destinations.

The analysis showed:

  • Illegal trade severely affects marine resources in the area with marine turtles, giant clams, seahorses, and sharks and rays, in particular, seized in large quantities and frequently.
  • Online wildlife trade in marine turtles, pangolins and sharks and rays² from September to December 2021 echoed this, with rays turning out to be the taxa most frequently offered for sale online in the region and were documented to be stockpiled or sold through live-streaming sessions.
  • In just three months, over 600 online posts were found trading in turtles, pangolins, sharks and rays.
  • A substantial illegal trade in pangolins and live birds was recorded. Live birds accounted for 96% of all live animals recorded as seized in seaports in the area.

The rich biodiversity and strategic location of the Sulu-Celebes Seas region make this area difficult to patrol and significant as a source and conduit of illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia”

Cecilia Fischer, WWF Wildlife Law Enforcement and Prosecution Officer

“The report highlights the top traded marine and terrestrial species confiscated, emphasizes the importance of inter-agency and transboundary collaboration, and calls for a greater focus on online trade, particularly in pangolins, sharks, and marine turtles, in this region,” Fischer said.

The report shows the deeply interconnected nature of illegal wildlife trade in this region. It argues that solutions must involve looking at the region as a whole, making the case for much greater inter-agency and transboundary cooperation, particularly when the high number of seizures resulted in a low number of successful convictions reported.

“At least 45 different agencies from these three countries made arrests and seizures, with over a quarter of incidents involving collaboration between multiple agencies within a country. We’re keen to see and support more of these joint efforts at the regional level between countries,” said Chng.

Recommendations from the report include:

  • Increased vigilance at formal and informal landing sites to intercept wildlife contraband.
  • Strengthening the capacity of agencies on investigations, prosecution and post-confiscation handling.
  • Improving inter-agency and inter-country cooperation, through stronger communications streams and joint task forces guided by practical operating procedures across agencies and borders.
  • Using existing traceability tools to tackle the trafficking of marine turtles, pangolins and sharks and rays and improve regulation of the legal trade in sharks and rays.  

The “Targeting Regional Investigations for Policing Opportunities & Development (TRIPOD)” project was implemented from 2021-2023 in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to strengthen the capacities of hundreds of law enforcement officials and other relevant stakeholders.

Dried seahorses for traditional Chinese medicine. Philippines © Jürgen Freund / WWF

watch avatar the way of water full movie
watch avatar the way of water full movie
watch avatar the way of water full movie

Source link

Current track