Javan rhino ‘now extinct in Vietnam’

Genetic analysis of rhino dung samples revealed that there was only one individual left in Vietnam

The WWF and the International Rhino Foundation said the country’s last Javan rhino was probably killed by poachers, as its horn had been cut off.

A critically endangered species of rhino is now extinct in Vietnam, according to a report by conservation groups.

Thailand breaches rules on wild dolphins in captivity

Thailand is witnessing an ever-increasing legal and illegal exploitation of local wildlife and marine life

Dolphins have been kept in captivity in Thailand since 1986. The first wild pink dolphin was caught and kept at Laem Singh in Chanthaburi by Mr Vichai Wattanapong, which later became Oasis Sea World. But it wasn’t until recent years that interest in new dolphinaria has developed within Thailand.

Several attempts to start up aquariums containing wild-caught dolphins in Phuket and Koh Samui did not eventuate. One involved a Danish scientist who tried and failed to win the support of local politicians and businessmen to start a dolphinarium in Phuket in order to treat autistic children, three years ago.

Call of the wild

Environmentalists have warned the Thai government that newly proposed dolphinariums, including the Pattaya Dolphin World and Safari World, featuring dolphins caught in the wild, threaten both the health of wild dolphin populations and Thailand’s reputation as a dolphin-safe country.

Ric O’Barry, a leading global dolphin activist whose efforts to save dolphins is documented in the Oscar-winning film, The Cove, holds ‘Stop’ and ‘Keep Out Except Persons Concerned’ signs as he arrives at Taiji Community Centre in Taiji, western Japan. The tiny seaside town in Japan whose annual dolphin slaughter gained notoriety through the gruesome film hosted an unprecedented meeting between local officials and foreign environmentalists. But the carefully organised event was given a jolt just before its scheduled start when O’Barry said he would not participate due to ‘severe restrictions on the Japanese and international media’ and headed off on the short walk to the ocean cove where the town conducts its dolphin butchery. 

Wild Primates of Thailand

Amazing apes are part of our natural heritage

During the Miocene Epoch (5.3-23.8 million years ago), a relative of the orangutan lived in the dense jungles in what is now north and northeast Thailand. Scientists digging in coalmines and sandpits have discovered some very amazing fossils.

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White-handed gibbon.

Other primates like a 13-million year old tarsier and an early Adaptiform primate have also been found in the Kingdom. The oldest anthropoid from the fossil record is Siamopithecus eocaenus, also known as ‘Siam Ape’ found in 40 million year old strata in the southern province of Krabi. This legacy is just another part of Thailand’s remarkable natural heritage.

Smuggled rhino horns: The Thai connection

Local prostitutes conscripted by gangs to pose as hunters are at the centre of an alleged Southeast Asian smuggling network that South African authorities are scrambling to stop

  • Fetching US$2,500 (76,700 baht) for 100g in some Southeast Asian countries, it comes as no surprise to the man tasked with trying to stem the international illegal trade in rhino horns that it is now a major organised crime.

“At the moment rhino horn is worth a lot more than heroin or cocaine,” says John Sellar, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) chief enforcement officer based in Geneva.

Some estimates put the price of rhino horns as high as 2.85 million baht per kilogramme, but many conservation bodies are unwilling to quote prices for fear of increasing trade in the endangered species.

Chinese Demand Revives Ivory Trade

HONG KONG—A long-dormant threat to Africa’s elephant population is back with a vengeance, thanks to rising demand for ivory from newly affluent Chinese consumers.

Elephants carved from illegal Ivory on display at an ‘Endangered Species’ London Zoo exhibition this monthat the London Zoo on September 12, 2011 in London, England. The exhibition is organized by Operation Charm, a Metropolitan Police partnership aimed at tackling illegal trade in endangered wildlife and runs for one month at London Zoo.

Reflecting this demand, ivory prices in China have soared to as high as US$7,000 a kilogram in 2011 from US$157 a kilo in 2008, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nongovernmental organization based in London. Estimates from other researchers and NGOs put ivory prices in China as low as US$300 to US$750 a kilo, which nevertheless reflects at least a 100% increase in price over three years.

Baby Rhino Rescued From Tree

The three-week-old South African rhino had fled poachers who shot its mother dead.

A South African rhino, like the one shown here, was recently rescued from a tree after it had fled poachers.
Corbis

A three-week-old South African rhino was rescued from a thorn tree after fleeing poachers who shot its mother dead and hit the calf over the head with a machete, a report said Thursday.

I heard the little one cry, I saw it was trapped and was hurting, but I could not do anything until the vet arrived,” game farm owner, Neels van Rensburg told Die Beeld newspaper.

National parks officials infuriated by reshuffle

More than 20 chiefs switched by Damrong

National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department officials have expressed frustration over a mass reshuffle of national park chiefs nationwide by newly-appointed director-general Damrong Pidech, who switched more than 20 jobs last week.

Mr Damrong signed an order to transfer 24 marine national park chiefs last Thursday _ just two days after the cabinet appointed him as the department’s director-general, replacing Sunan Arunnopparat.

At least 10 more national park chiefs were expected to be transferred this month, a source at the department said.

The mass reshuffle would result in the elimination of national park chiefs who were appointed by former environment and natural resources minister Suwit Khunkitti, the source said.

The source added that Mr Damrong is expected to put his men at the so-called Grade A national parks, such as Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima, Sai Yok and Erawan in Kanchanaburi, Huay Nam Dung and Doi Suthep-Pui in Chiang Mai, and Phu Kradueng in Loei.

The source said the reshuffle list was jointly made by Mr Damrong and former environment and natural resources minister Yongyuth Tiyapairat, who has been banned from politics for five years for electoral fraud.

Chimps step into the light

Free after decades in research labs

It’s a video that has melted the hearts of hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Laboratory chimpanzees at a research facility in Austria were filmed stepping into daylight for the first time after decades in captivity – and they did not hide their joy. 

They peered out of an open door, uncertain at first, before hugging each other and taking their first steps around the sunlit outdoor compound, climbing to the top of the trees to look at the views outside.

German television network RTL broadcast the footage on Sunday, and different YouTube versions of the 10 chimpanzees exploring the outside world for the first time have since attracted more than 130,000 hits.

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