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Cambodia: Rosewood exports to Vietnam achieved with fake signatures
Thousands of cubic metres of endangered Siamese rosewood were sent to Vietnam in 2014 with export permits bearing the Photoshopped signature of a retired Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) secretary of state, a ministry official said yesterday.
The trade in Siamese rosewood was internationally outlawed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2013. The next year, in spite of the ban, nearly a million cubic metres were registered in the database of the CITES secretariat in Geneva as having been exported to Vietnam from Cambodia in six batches.
When this discrepancy was first brought to light last month by British NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Cambodian CITES management authority – a department within MAFF responsible for granting trade permits for protected species as well as annually reporting on the trade to the secretariat – said it was unaware of the exports.
* Learn more about this story in the EIA report Red Alert at eia-international.org/report/red-alert
CITES Cambodia’s 2014 report to the secretariat in Geneva listed just two Siamese rosewood trees being exported – to Canada. If the Vietnamese management authority had registered imports from Cambodia, those imports must have been conducted with counterfeit permits, CITES Cambodia officer Suon Phalla said in an email last month, adding that his office was unaware of any such forgeries.
However, on Monday, Phalla passed the Post copies of emails he said were sent in December 2014, alerting CITES Vietnam that they had accepted four export permits that year bearing the signature of former MAFF secretary of state Uk Sokhon, who retired in October 2013.
Sokhon yesterday said that he had no knowledge of the permits and Phalla clarified in an email yesterday evening that CITES Cambodia did not suspect Sokhon had authorised them.
Read in full at www.phnompenhpost.com/national/rosewood-exports-vietnam-achieved-fake-signatures-official
#Cambodia #Vietnam #corruption #forests #rosewood CITES
Image: Illegal loggers cut down a rosewood tree, Cambodia, via Phnom Penh Post ... See MoreSee Less
2 hours ago ·
We would like to extend a huge thank you to amazing supporter Ayra Kacker who recently took on a swimming challenge for EIA.
Ayra, who lives with her family in Singapore, swam 5km over the course of five days and raised an incredible $470 SGD which will go towards our front line work exposing environmental crime.
Many, many thanks Ayra, for your dedication and passion for the environment – we couldn’t continue our vital work without supporters like you.
#fundraising #challengeevents ... See MoreSee Less
3 hours ago ·
Hunting: Animal welfare groups push US to classify all leopards as endangered
Conservationists have demanded a crackdown on the import to the US of leopards killed by American hunters, in an attempt to replicate the protections introduced in the wake of the furore caused by the death of famed lion Cecil.
A coalition of animal welfare groups have petitioned the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to classify all leopards as endangered, the Guardian can reveal. This would severely curtail the ability of American hunters to bring home “trophies”, such as leopard skulls, paws or skins, from hunting trips to Africa.
America is a leading collector of leopard parts. According to a Humane Society analysis of data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, US trophy hunters imported parts of 5,575 leopards between 2005 and 2014.
It is unclear how many leopards remain across Africa and Asia but the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has warned the species has “declined substantially” due to habitat loss, paucity of prey and targeted poaching for sham medicinal products in south-east Asia and China that can generate $3,000 for a leopard carcass.
The IUCN states that “poorly managed trophy hunting adds to pressure on local leopard populations”. In 2016, South Africa stopped the hunting of leopards, over concerns that untold damage was being wrought.
Full story at www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/25/leopards-animal-welfare-groups-endangered-us
#Africa #USA #hunting #trophies #leopards
Image: Leopard with kill in tree in Limpopo, South Africa, by Raphael Melnick ... See MoreSee Less
23 hours ago ·