Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

Designer Poaching Up, Messenger Shot

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

An interesting piece on increased wildlife trade in today’s New York Times.  It is useful to know that rising incomes in Asia are increasing wildlife trade.  But there is a bit of a bait and switch here:  We get very concrete data on the income rise in China from a Credit Suisse study but we get none on wildlife trade.  It would have been a better story if the author had included concrete data to support the proposition that the animal trade is on the rise.  Instead she writes: “Figures are hard to come by, as only select species can be closely monitored. But here are a couple of examples to illustrate the scale of some the population declines…”

Data on illegal trade is not “hard to come by,” it doesn’t exist.  No one is even close to quantifying the illegal (more…)

Penan Drowning

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

More on the drowning of Borneo:

1,000 Penans stranded

MIRI: Swirling river currents swept away a recently-built wooden bridge over the massive Sungai Linau, cutting off a village with more than 1,000 Penan folk, a school and a clinic in the Lusong Laku settlement in the interior of central Sarawak.

A timber company, which moved out of the area to make way for the impoundment of the Bakun Dam, had built the wooden bridge after dismantling an iron bridge that had been there earlier.

The Star was informed of the destruction of the bridge by three Catholic priests who were making their pre-Christmas rounds in the Belaga district.  Read More

Striped Bass Bust Rocks Fish World

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Here is a very cool case of poaching in the United States that gives you a small sense of what it’s like to go after wildife criminals in countries where eating wildlife is a regular part of the culture/economy.  The poachers here are taking striped bass out of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.  Big deal, right?  We all eat fish.  Many of us fish.  I’ve fished my whole life and never managed to catch a single striper.  How bad could it be?  Plus, the watermen of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia represent a long, honorable tradition.  When I first heard of this investigation two years ago I thought, Man, what a joke, but that kind of thinking is what lets criminals over-exploit the world around us. There is money in what we ignore, and all around the world people ignore all kinds of wildlife.

Read this amazing story and you’ll see that just as in the case of Anson Wong and other kingpins around the world, this criminal operation represents  exploitation on a commercial scale.  It is intentional, large-scale exploitation of wildlife and it is very big money.  I know a few of the guys involved (and a woman :-)) in prosecuting this case, and it’s a great success for wildlife.

Unusual task force sends message to poachers

It took 8 years and several agencies to unravel a network responsible for poaching millions of dollars worth of striped bass from the Chesapeake Bay By Candus Thomson, The Baltimore Sun  10:38 PM EST, December 4, 2010

For years, crooked Maryland and Virginia watermen went to local courts and paid their fines for illegal fishing — $50, $100, $150 — and then went back to their boats to poach some more.

They considered it the cost of doing business, investigators say. But a partnership of state and federal law enforcement officials changed the game. With the sentencing last week of the final player, the Interagency Wildlife Task Force laid waste to the largest commercial fish poaching ring in the history of the Chesapeake Bay. (more…)