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Web Desk
October 27, 2018

WWF-Pakistan lauds efforts of SWD for seizing pangolin scales and turtle meat


Web Desk
Sat, Oct 27, 2018

Karachi: WWF-Pakistan appreciated the efforts of the Sindh Wildlife Department (SWD), Government of Sindh for confiscating around 200 kilogram of scales of the endangered Indian pangolin and 150 kilogram of freshwater turtle meat during a raid at Khadda Market on Friday.

 According to the SWD, the consignment was allegedly destined for the consumer market in China. WWF-Pakistan expresses its serious concern over the persistent illegal trade of live species, their parts, products and derivate trade in the country and therefore, emphasizes the need to enhance capacity of law enforcement agencies, make coordinated efforts and award stringent penalties for traffickers which can help unravel the wildlife trafficking supply chain. 

This is the second attempt of illegal wildlife trade of protected species in the past two months.

Sharing his thoughts on the issue, Dr. Babar Khan, Director Conservation, WWF-Pakistan said that while these seizers are celebrated as our victory against wildlife trafficking rings, it should not be forgotten that they also reflect the fact that Pakistan is losing its ionic species at an alarming rate. 

The Indian pangolin, for example, is not only harmless but an endangered mammal facing extinction due to illegal wildlife trade in its habitat range from Asia and Africa. 

He also shared that Pakistan is known as an important source country where turtles and pangolins are poached for supply to South East Asian countries.

 Pangolins are included in the Appendix-1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that prohibits their commercial trade all around the world. 

Both species are also protected under all wildlife protection legislations of the country, yet their illegal poaching and trade being carried out. He highlighted that this recent confiscation indicates the massacre of hundreds of pangolins and turtles.

WWF-Pakistan believes that the iconic species in Pakistan are heading towards extinction due to poaching and illegal trade. 

There is no single factor that alone can stop wildlife crime in the country but a broad approach needs to be urgently adopted and should involve many tools and partners, and target the entire trafficking supply chain.

To build capacity of law enforcement and trade monitoring agencies, WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organised a training workshop on Friday. 

The aim of the event was to enhance capacities of Pakistan Customs and other concerned agencies to acquaint them with the key aspects of illegal wildlife trade and to increase vigilance of concerned departments on such matters. 

WWF-Pakistan and UNODC have initiated a joint campaign to train officials from various departments and organizations which help raise public awareness on the issue. 

In addition, WWF-Pakistan has developed a National Plan of Action that urges conservation of these endangered species through a collaborative process. It provides a roadmap to combat illegal wildlife trade of these species in Pakistan.

Considering the severity of the issue, governments around the world are joining hands to curb illegal wildlife trade. 

The most recent example is the London Conference hosted by the UK Government in the second week of October 2018 where global leaders not only recognized the need to take urgent action but also acknowledged the need of collective action to combat this crime.

The illegal wildlife trade industry is estimated to be worth more than £15 billion a year. It has a devastating impacts of world’s biodiversity of both aquatic and terrestrial origin. 

This illicit business has wildlife is devastating some of the world’s most precious animals such as pangolins and plants such as rosewood. Around 55 African elephants are killed a day, driven by poaching for their ivory.