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May 20, 2019

Curbing illegal wildlife trade is a must

  • Myanmar is home to more than 300 endangered species, with tigers, elephants, pangolins, and golden deer topping the list.
    Wildlife trafficking has become one of the most profitable criminal activities globally, and its impact on biodiversity, efforts for sustainable development, and poverty eradication has been devastating.
    Illegal wildlife trade has completely changed the biodiversity, fauna, and flora of Myanmar. The number of valuable species in the country is witnessing a rapid decline. If this downward trend continues unchecked, some of our iconic national treasures — elephants, tigers, bears, pangolins, and birds — will become extinct.
    The authorities recently destroyed 219 pieces of ivory, 527 fragments of tiger and leopard bones, 800 horns belonging to different animals, 134.72 kg of pangolin scales, 5.5 kg of turtle shells and dried elephant trunks, valued at K1,700 million or US$1.1 million, for the second time, at the opening ceremony of Myanmar’s first-ever elephant museum in Yangon on 3 March.
    In the first such public event in October last year, ivory and parts of endangered animals, with an estimated value of $1.3 million, were incinerated in Nay Pyi Taw.
    At the event, 277 pieces of ivory, 227 bones belonging to elephants and other wildlife, 45 hides and 1,544 horns belonging to different animals, 45.5 kg of pangolin scales, and 128 types of other wildlife parts, with a total weight of about 849.26 kg, were destroyed.
    Both events sent the message that illegal trade of animal parts as well as bush meat is not acceptable, and we will step up efforts to fight poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
    While raising awareness on the role of law enforcement in curbing illegal trade of fauna and flora, we must act against illegal traders and poachers, and promote international cooperation on the subject.
    Myanmar has developed policies, laws, rules, and regulations to ensure the protection and sustainability of the country’s rich biodiversity, wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems.
    To monitor and combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade, the role of the public is key. Public support is especially important in wildlife protection and conservation efforts.

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