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  TRAFFIC 27 Jun 06
China, India and Nepal work together to address illegal trans-boundary wildlife trade

Beijing, China...Illegal trade of wildlife species and products continues to flourish despite legislative deterrents and concerted efforts to address this trade that in terms of both size and profit are considered to be huge.

To address growing concerns of illegal trans-boundary wildlife trade in Asia, TRAFFIC, WWF-UK and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office brought together key government delegates from China, India and Nepal to work together and seek ways to increase their collaborative efforts in order to combat the illegal trade occurring in the key wildlife trade hotspot of China borders.

China, India and Nepal are all Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and all three have legal and institutional instruments in place to address wildlife trade issues.

However, illegal wildlife trade has become more organized, demand has increased for wildlife and their products and smugglers have more sophisticated systems for transporting consignments.

In order to combat this worrying trend driven by increased, international demand, it is now urgent for all three countries to step up efforts such as enforcement at cross-national borders, regional level advocacy, policy analysis as well as collaboration with non-conventional stakeholders such as transport companies.

During the one-day workshop last week, delegates from India, Nepal and China each gave an overview of wildlife trade related issues in their countries. In addition, NGOs working in China - including TRAFFIC, CI, IFAW and WCS - discussed their wildlife trade programmes in China.

TRAFFIC introduced the Asian big cats initiative in the region with focus on strengthening enforcement capacity and trans-boundary collaborations.

Continuing trade in Asian big cats and their parts, particularly trade in Tiger and Tiger parts, was noted being of a particular concern, feeding into the markets of traditional Chinese medicine and skin trade. Examples of other species of concern from the region noted included rhinos, elephants, and Tibetan Antelope.

"There is a lot of work that needs doing in order to curb down the illegal trade, increase trans-boundary co-operation, improve the law enforcement efforts and establish active networks for communication and information sharing," said Dr Craig Kirkpatrick, Director of TRAFFIC in East Asia.

"However, to hear so many diverse views on wildlife trade shared openly in a multi-lateral forum is an extremely positive step to right direction and demonstrates political will and collaborative approach shared by all three key countries. China, India and Nepal are now in a position to urgently and effectively address the growing concern of illegal wildlife trade, which continues to filter through this key wildlife trade hotspot of Asia"

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