News Archive

DNA database to protect elephants

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk has vowed to solve within a year issues related to Thailand’s elephants.

Preecha planned to build a DNA database on 4,000 or so domesticated elephants in order to stop people taking over identity papers of deceased pachyderms and replacing them with elephants taken in the wild.

After a Wednesday press conference to discuss the February 35 elephant fair at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang’s Hang Chat district, Preecha said he would contact the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of issuing elephant identification papers, for information about the beasts living in camps and elsewhere nationwide.

‘Medicinal Use’ Pangolin Farms in China? [Photos & Video]

Are pangolins being farmed for China’s traditional medicine industry?

Project Pangolin has uncovered disturbing information which strongly suggests that “medicinal use” pangolin farms are already operating in China.

The emergence of pangolin farming may help provide insight into why the world is losing its pangolins at such an alarming rate (an estimated 40,000 killed in 2011) and why China’s appetite for pangolins continues to increase.

Project pangolin discovered pangolin farming is promoted as an investment opportunity due to continued high demand from the traditional Chinese medicine industry, and we also located photos and videos of a pangolin farm on a Chinese business website.

First images of newly discovered primate

Researchers working in Northern Myanmar have captured the first photographs of the recently discovered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey.

Announced today in Yangon, Myanmar, a joint team from Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF), caught pictures of the monkey on camera traps placed in the high, forested mountains of Kachin state, bordering China.

Smuggling ring threatens wild elephants

Thailand’s wild elephants are at an increasingly higher risk of extinction than ever before despite being officially protected. On average three of the giant animals have been hunted down and killed in each of the past two years, according to statistics from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The carcasses of four male pachyderms were found only a few days after the New Year in the western province of Phetchaburi’s Kaeng Krachan district, where the incident took place close to the road. Hunters shot the animals with a powerful gun in their foreheads, while destroying  evidence by cutting out the front of the skulls, burning bullet holes, and the elephant corpses themselves. Ivory tusks, tails, and sexual organs were taken.

Poachers suspected of killing elephants

Ivory poachers have apparently slaughtered at least one elephant from Phetchaburi’s Kaeng Krajan National Park.

After a 3pm report of the discovery of a carcass in tambon Pateng, police, park officials and villagers rushed to the scene near the Krarang 3 Reservoir and found an elephant burned on a pyre of rubber tyres.

Officials suspect the hunters took the tusks and then tried to conceal the crime.

Big Cat Scat: Grant Boosts Critical Research

For the past five years, Museum scientists, in collaboration with the Panthera Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting big cats in the wild, have been tracking tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards through DNA in scat, or fecal specimens, gathered in the field. Now, through a generous grant from the Leslie and Daniel Ziff Foundation, the Global Felid Conservation Genetics Program can accelerate the pace of this important work by expanding the program’s laboratory component.

“We’re very excited about it,” says George Amato, director of the Museum’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and the Center for Conservation Genetics, which is responsible for sequencing the big cats’ DNA and analyzing the results. “In terms of scale, it is now the largest project of its kind in the world.”

Japan uses $28.5m in disaster funds for whaling

A growing number of Japanese environmental and consumer groups are joining in protest against the use of disaster recovery funds to subsidise the loss-making whaling fleet.

The government recently gave the whalers 2.28 billion yen ($28.5 million) as part of a special budget for recovery from the March 11 triple disaster.

Much of the extra funding will go towards security forces for the whaling fleet, which left Japan yesterday for the Antarctic, where conflict is expected with Sea Shepherd activists.

‘It’s really good stuff’: undercover at a Chinese tiger bone wine auction

Sales of such products are forbidden – but buyers turned up in droves and uniformed police were conspicuous by their absence

One-year-old cubs at Xiongsen bear and tiger park where tigers are bred to produce tiger bone wine. Photograph: Sinopix/Rex Features

Is China serious about ending the trade in tigers and other endangered animals?

The question posed itself last Saturday as I sat at an auction in Beijing watching the hammer go down on cases of spirits and tonics fortified with tiger, rhino horn and pangolin.

Hong Kong rhino horn seizure a unique enforcement opportunity

TRAFFIC in Enforcement, Mammals – rhinos, Smuggling in Africa, Smuggling to Asia

Forensic analysis of the 33 rhino horns and 885 ivory pieces seized in Hong Kong could provide vital clues as to their origin Click image to enlarge © Hong Kong Customs & Excise Cambridge, UK, 16th November 2011—Tuesday’s seizure by Hong Kong Customs of 33 rhino horns, 758 ivory chopsticks and 127 ivory bracelets concealed inside a container shipped to Hong Kong from Cape Town, South Africa, provides a unique opportunity to gain insights into the criminal syndicates trafficking wildlife goods between Africa and Asia, according to TRAFFIC.

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