Illegal wild cat trade thriving in China

2014-12-22 17:22

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Yangon - The illegal trade in tiger and other wild cat parts from Myanmar into China has grown, a survey said on Monday, while the same trade into Thailand has diminished.

In Tachilek on the Myanmar-Thailand border, shops selling wild cat parts including tiger and leopard skins and skulls, fell from 35 in 2000, to just six in 2013, UK-based wildlife NGO Traffic said in a press release.

"However in Mong La, at the China border, such shops more than trebled from six in 2006, to 21 in 2014. Mong La caters almost entirely to customers from China," Traffic said.

"Most of the cat parts on sale were claws, skulls, canine teeth and skins," said the survey.

Over 2 000 wild cat parts, the majority of them skins, were recorded.

The decrease in Tachilek could be due to greater enforcement action in Thailand while the increase in Mong La may be linked to the rising buying power of China's consumers, and the apparent ease in smuggling illegal wildlife parts into China from Mong La, the report said.

"It's time for the relevant enforcement authorities to live up to their international commitments to address wildlife crime," said co-author Dr Vincent Nijman, professor of anthropology at Oxford Brookes University.

The study looked at trade in the two border towns over two decades.

The most frequently found parts were of the clouded leopard, found throughout the forests of South-East Asia.

All wild cat species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) and by national laws.

Read more on:    cites  |  china  |  myanmar  |  animals  |  conservation
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