Vietnam Tiger Bone 1994
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Petition seeks ban on trade in fake rhino horn
Trade in bioengineered rhino horn shouldn’t be allowed. That's the contention behind a petition filed today with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Center for Biological Diversity, a U.S.-based group that uses science and law to protect the environment, and WildAid, a nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate illegal wildlife trade.
At issue is bioengineered, or cultured, rhino horn under development or consideration by several companies, including Pembient, CeratoTech, Rhinoceros Horn LLC, and Stop Rhino Poaching Through Synthetic Rhino Horns. Pembient has already produced prototypes of both powdered and carvable horn and plans to put its “essence of rhino horn” in beer, skin care products, and medicines. The other companies are raising money for research.
While their methods vary, they essentially involve manufacturing fake rhino horn using elements derived from a real one. The result is a product far different from fakes on the market today—namely, one that is visually, chemically, and genetically identical to the real thing.
Pembient CEO Matthew Markus believes the low price of the company’s synthetic horn will reduce economic incentives for poachers. “We’ll make money—the poaching syndicates won’t,” he says ...
Today’s petition asks the Fish and Wildlife Service to prohibit the import, export, and sale of biologically engineered rhinoceros horn, as well as cultured parts or products from other protected wildlife.
It contains five justifications for such a ban:
* The service already has the authority to ban cultured horn under existing laws
* Trade in cultured rhino horn provides cover for the illegal trade
* Trade in cultured rhino horn hinders law enforcement
* Trade in cultured horn expands consumer demand
* Trade in cultured horn lends credibility to the unproven claim that rhino horn has medicinal value and undermines efforts to reduce demand
Full story at news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160210-rhino-horn-wildlife-trafficking-pembient-poaching-cons...
Image: Pembient's 3D-printed synthetic rhino horn (c) Pembient ... See MoreSee Less
13 hours ago ·
Ocean theme parks boom in China, to the detriment of the creatures confined
ZHUHAI, China — The polar bears pace back and forth in their enclosure, heads lolling as they turn, their distress apparent. Chinese tourists crowd around display windows to snap quick close-ups on their phones.
Beluga whales nod in time to loud music, “kiss” children or spit plumes of water toward the gasping crowd. A walrus blows a trumpet, seals catch Frisbees and dolphins propel their trainers through the water on their beaks.
Chimelong Ocean Kingdom here is the largest of China’s 39 ocean theme parks, the flagship of a booming industry that is capturing some of the world’s most magnificent and intelligent animals from the wild and keeping many of them in cramped, inadequate conditions.
Attendance has been dropping at some of the roughly 30 ocean parks in the United States in the wake of reports about the welfare of sea mammals in captivity.
But here in China, the industry cannot expand rapidly enough to satisfy the nation’s apparent hunger to watch animals perform: Sixteen more parks are under construction, and Chimelong’s park in Zhuhai, close to Macao on China’s southern coast, recorded 80,000 visitors on one day alone last year.
A new report by the China Cetacean Alliance (CCA), a coalition of international animal protection groups, says the parks house a total of 491 cetaceans, including 279 bottlenose dolphins and 114 belugas, as well as seven orcas, or killer whales.
Most of those animals were caught in the waters of Russia, Japan and the Solomon Islands, by methods that are “known to cause stress and fear in free-ranging individuals,” the report said.
Full story at www.pressherald.com/2016/02/09/ocean-theme-parks-boom-in-china-to-the-detriment-of-the-creatures-...
#China #whales #bears
Image: Belugas can swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild but in captivity at Grandview Mall Ocean World in Guangzhou, China, are detained in shallow, featureless tanks (c) Simon Denyer ... See MoreSee Less
15 hours ago ·
Myanmar: Wildlife trade & habitat destruction for logging, mining and agriculture threaten survival of several native species
The devastating impact of illegal logging and the illicit trade in wild animals on wildlife in Myanmar is attracting increasing attention from watchdog groups amid concern that some species are threatened with extinction.
A diverse environment that includes snow-capped mountains, rain forests and a vast river and delta networks has helped to give Myanmar has one of the highest levels of wildlife diversity in Southeast Asia. The country has 11,824 species of plants, 1,056 species of birds, 252 species of mammals, and 295 reptile species, found a survey in 2014 by the Forestry Department, under the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry.
Reptiles account for the highest number of endemic species, with 29, followed by plants, eight and birds, four. The only endemic mammal is the Golden Deer.
A report last September by London-based Environmental Investigation Agency found that Myanmar lost a total of 1.7 million hectares of forest cover between 2001 and 2013. It called the deforestation rate “among some of the highest in the entire region.”
Another threat is the trade in wild animals and their body parts.
Full story at www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/here-today-gone-tomorrow
#Myanmar #forests #wildlife
Image: Vendors sell various animal parts at an open air market in Mong La, Myanmar (c) TRAFFIC / EPA ... See MoreSee Less
16 hours ago ·