From elephants and ivory to rhino horn and rosewood, it is clear that Thailand, not the USA, is a major epicenter of illegal trade. Characterizing the USA as central to these issues is a self serving ploy by NGO’s invested in using high profile emotionally charged rhetoric as a fundraising platform at home. Clearly the USA has little to do with the poaching of rhinos and elephants– and the trade in new ivory and rhino horn.” ~Andrew Wyatt
Thai armed guard protecting a precious Siam rosewood
For around two and a half years now, we’ve tried to keep a focus on what’s happening with the poaching of African rhinos via this awareness raising campaign.
As a result we’ve become fairly well versed in the wide-ranging and complex issues of the international wildlife trade – the third largest illegal business in the world after drugs and arms.
What we hadn’t completely got our heads round before was just how widespread and far-ranging the problem was. That it it’s not just iconic, headline-grabbing species like rhinos and elephants that are at risk of being poached to extinction.
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Last month we found ourselves in Thailand’s beautiful Dong Phoyayen-Khao Yai eastern forest complex visiting Thap Lan, Pang Sida and Kao Yai national parks. We were on assignment for leading French nature and photography magazine Terre Sauvage supported…
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Andrew: Your observation is succinctly and accurately put. I agree. It would appear that the Chinese demand for all these products derived from rare animals and plants, whether it be rooted in a cultural heritage or a modern-day fashion, is the primary driving force for poaching and illegal trade. Don’t see an answer unless a coalition of governments reach out to the Chinese government to convince them that the solution is in their educational and regulatory hands.
I agree Tom. The current trend toward grand symbolic gestures by the US government with little to no impact on actual poaching and wildlife trafficking promise to be fruitless and could actually exacerbate the problem.